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Full text of "The Wyndham family: a story of modern life"

THE WYNDHAM 



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THE 



WYNDHAM FAMILY: 



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BY 



THE AUTHOR OF "MOUNT ST. LAWRENCE." 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
YOL. I. 



LONDON : 
BURNS & OATES, 17, PORTMAN STREET, 
PORTMAN SQUARE. 
1876. 



-^ 



/ 



WYMAN AND SONS, PBINTEES, 

GKEAT QUEEN STREET, LINCOLN's-INN FIELDS, 

iONDON, W.C. 



v.i 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I, 



Chap. Page 

I. The Glory of Service 1 

II. The Two Sisters 10 

m. The Mistress of the House 16 

IV. Going out 28 

Y. Another House altogether 37 

VI. The Lost One 50 

VII. Fresh Ideas ........ 67 

VIII. A First Introduction 82 

fo IX. Prudence OuT-3iAN(ELnrRED 96 

j X. An Unwelcome Announcement .... 103 

^ XI. Changes in the Administration .... 112 

jt XII. The Young Lady and her Waiting-woman . . 124 

I XIII. The Proposal 132 

o" XIV. Two Family Scenes 143 

w XV. The Party and its Results 155 

^ XVI. The Morning after the Party .... 163 

> 
^ XVII. The Lover and the Brother ..... 174 

<S XVni. The Captain and his Friend .... 180 



IV CONTENTS. 

Chap. Page 

XIX. Uncle John 190 

XX. Uncle John and his Nieces .... 203 

XXI. A Walk and a Talk 215 

XXII. An Unexpected Meeting 227 

XXIII. A Disclosure and a Consultation .... 239 

XXIV. Suspicion aroused and Confidence restored . 249 
XXV. Uncle John makes a Friend ..... 265 



THE WINDHAM FAMILY. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE GLORY OF SERVICE. 

It was between ten and eleven o'clock at night, the hour 
when quiet people think of undressing and going to bed, 
and when the gay world of London begins to turn its 
mind to dressing and going out to seek amusement. A 
drizzling rain was falling, falling coldly, as it falls in early 
spring, when the wind is in the east ; and you might have 
heard it fitfully sighing and wailing, had it not been for the 
monotonous roll of wheels upon the pavement, which, save 
for an hour or two of the night, seldom gives the ear a 
truce, even for a few short moments. People who habitu- 
ally live in towns are apt to find the quiet of the country 
act as a damper on their spirits ; but, on the other hand, I 
believe that those who are used to its deep peace and 
silence are not seldom impressed with a feeling of melan- 
choly by these never-ceasing tokens of the stir of a world 
with which they have no connection, and which takes no 
interest in them. Nature, in whose loving presence they 
have more or less consciously lived, is shut out, and they 
are shut in with a world which they know not, and which 
knows not them. 

Perhaps some such thoughts or feelings might be passing 

B 



2 THET WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

over the mind of a young girl, wliose cheek still glowed with 
the roses which pure air and a country life had nursed there, 
as she sat for an idle moment, and paused over her work, in 
a good-sized but three-parts underground kitchen in Berke- 
ley Square. Those roses were a little heightened just now, 
and a tear or two seemed to have lately trickled down from 
the bright clear eye, for the corner of the apron had been 
raised, and had left a tell-tale smear across the otherwise 
clean face. 

*' Crying, Mary 1 " inquired a bolder-looking girl, some 
years her senior, who entered the kitchen abruptly, and 
cast an inquisitive glance at her fellow-servant ; "and if 
you have been crying," she added, with some good-nature, 
mixed with a dash of bitterness, " I am sure no wonder ; 
that is, if you are given to that sort of thing." 

" I am not given to crying," said Mary, " but how should 
you know what I may have been crying about 1 " 

" I can guess, I dare say. Such a life as this is ! But 
come, you'll never get those things washed to-night." 

*' What sort of life ? What do you just mean ] " replied 
the girl. 

"Why, something very different from life upstairs, 
don't you think so 1 " 

" Of course ; that is because we are servants. I know- 
that. I never think of crying because I am a servant, 
Rachel. We are not unkindly treated here." 

A pause. 

" Humph, no ; we live well, — so do the horses, and so does 
Missis's lapdog ; and we work hard, — and so do the horses, 
and so does not Fillipin, or whatever that plaything is 
called. But then we are not horses, Mary, no more than 
Missis and the young ladies. We work and they play ; did 
that never strike you, you little simpleton 1 And then th&ir 
play is our work. Now they had company to dinner to- 
day, all very amusing, and your share is washing dishes ; 



THE GLORY OF SERVICE. 3 

and tliey are going out to a ball in an hour's time, and so 
Mrs. Roper will have the fun of sitting up, with a veiy bad 
headache, as I know she has got, and after stitching her 
fingers off all day, to alter a gown for Miss Gertrude, which 
Missis said did not fit, and is not satisfied with after all." 

" We are servants," repeated Mary, but in rather a fainter 
tone this time. 

" Yes, serA-ants ; and did you ever think what a funny 
thing it is to be a servant 1 " 

*' No." 

" "Well, I'll tell you, then. It is to work and toil till 
your bones ache and your head is heavy, that others may 
laugh and dance and sing and do nothing." 

" They understand a number of things," rejoined Marj^. 
" we know nothing about. Look at all their books, and alB 
that sort of thing. They are educated, and have learning, 
and we have none, and can only work." 

"They have money, you mean," said Rachel; "as for 
their books, what good are they to anybody? They read 
story-books to amuse themselves. It's all that sort of 
thing lies on the table in the drawing-room. James- 
fetches them from the library sometimes, and takes a look 
at them as he is walking along. Some's a cut above him, 
I think ; but it's all the same,, he says : about lords and 
ladies, and Miss This and Mr. That, and falling in love, 
and a pack of nonsense. Now, I say this is very funny, 
isn't it 1 that more than half the world should work like 
beasts of burden that the i^st may keep holiday every day 
and all days, and read nice story-books ! " Rachel warmed 
as she spoke, and! her countenance, which was not lacking 
in worldly shrewdness and intelligence, assumed anything 
but a pleasing expression. 

" Hush ! " replied the young girl ; "this is wrong, 
Rachel ; besides, you know it is no business of ours." 

" No business of ours \ " and Rachel raised her fist en\- 



4 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY, 

phatically, but stopped short as another individual entered 
the kitchen. She was a woman of middle age, though her 
figure had still the slightness and elasticity of youth, and 
her features that delicacy which some persons may be ob- 
served to retain even to the most advanced years. Nothing, 
indeed, betrayed her age but a certain faded and wasted 
hue, which, as time goes on, gradually supplants the richer 
tints of youth, for there was not a shade of grey in the 
light hair, smoothly parted on her no less smooth forehead. 
" Rachel," she said, " the call-bell has rung for you 
twice." This piece of information dismissed the housemaid. 
"Mary," she continued, "you ought to have finished by this 
time. You have been lingering over your work." 

" I know I am behind," replied Mary, with something of 
a melancholy snuffle and an attempt at haste which, how- 
ever, chiefly consisted in making a good deal more noise 
with the dishes. Her companion, or, rather, no less a per- 
sonage than her superior officer, the cook, watched her for 
a moment in silence, and then began quietly to help her. 

Mary now muttered in a half justificatory tone, " There 
is so much to do." 

" There is," was the simple reply. 

"It is very hard/' added the gii'l, a little inclined to 
whimper. 

" No, not hard ; you may remember T warned you before 
you took the place, that work here was different from what 
you had been used to. I said it was not more I believed than 
you or any strong girl could do ; but to get through it pro- 
perly you must keep on at it." 

"Ah ! keep on at it," exclaimed Mary, " that is just it, 
Mrs. Tyrell — like a horse or an ass ; that is what is so try- 
ing, for you know we are not horses ; " — and Mary paused 
and blushed, for she felt she was not uttering her own 
sentiments, and she felt, too, that Mrs. Tyrell was looking 
at her with a little gentle surprise. 



THE GLORY OF SERVICE. 

" Mary, that is not like you." 

" Well, I must confess it was Rachel's idea, not mine, 
but it seemed true ; I couldn't say it wasn't true." 

" Poor Rachel ! " said Mrs. Tyrell. " But now I see you 
are not one who can work and talk at the same time, so 
suppose we get these things done before saying another 
word." 

Mary muttered some thanks, as Mrs. Tyrell lent her 
active assistance ; and indeed thanks were no more than 
her due, for not every cook would have shown herself as 
kind and forbearing to a dawdling kitchenmaid rather out 
of humour; everything was soon in its place, and the 
kitchen clock struck eleven. 

" There is nothing more to keep you, Mary," said Mrs. 
Tyrell mildly, and glancing round, " so you can go to 
bed." 

*' Only, only," stammered Mary, a strong disposition to 
cry choking her utterance, " that I wish to say I am sorry ; 
indeed I am." 

Mrs. Tp^ell had walked to the fire, and was taking off 
some of the coals preparatory to retiring herself. " Come 
here, my good girl," she said, "and sit down a moment." 
She drew a chair, and seating herself by the now weeping 
girl, took her broad working hands kindly between her 
own more delicately-made but thin and almost attenuated 
fingers. " Mary, you are a good Catholic ; don't you think 
you ought to try to attract Rachel by your good example 
and sweet words, instead of giving ear to her fractious com- 
plaints 1 " 

" I told her she was wrong ; but after she was gone I 
felt as if she was in the right ; in one way, I mean." 

" I understand. You knew she was wrong, but what 
she had said had made some impression all the same." 

" I could not help it." 

" No, Mary ; but you can help turning impressions into 



6 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

tliouglits, and consenting to tliem and making tliem your 
own. Drive them from you, and they cannot hurt you." 

Mary was silent for a moment ; then, looking full in 
Mrs. Tyrell's face, she said, " I know it is wrong to com- 
plain, but T don't see so clearly that there is nothing to 
complain of ; that is what is difficult. Tell me ; is it wrong 
to have such thoughts ? " And she looked earnestly, with her 
full lustrous eyes wide open, into the placid countenance of 
her kind friend. 

Now what is that kind friend going to say to her ] Is 
she going to say that the place is not a hard one 1 But it 
is rather a hard one ; and I think, though as yet we know 
but little of her, that Mrs. Tyrell loves truth. The family 
which Mary served lived a great deal in the world and saw 
a good deal of company at home ; they were withal not very 
rich ; it was necessary, therefore, to study economy in one 
way, if it could not be consulted in another; it was necessary 
to make a good show upon limited means ; and perhaps 
there are no situations in which servants' labour is more 
taxed than such as these. The Wyndhams kept only just so 
many as could absolutely do the work ; and this work was 
constant. 

*' Do you mean, Mary," replied Mrs. Tyrell to her subor- 
dinate's eager question, "that the work is hard, or that it is 
hard that you should have to do it ? " 

"Well, both," rejoined Mary. " It does seem hard, when 
one comes to think of it, that we should all work without 
ceasing, while others are taking their ease up-stairs all day 
long, and going out for their amusement three parts of the 
night. I don't mean that everybody ought to be sweeping 
and cleaning saucepans and dusting. If people can afford 
to pay to get such things done, it is quite fair, and gives the 
means of earning their bread to those who are poor. God 
made the rich and the poor too, I know that, and I should say 
nothing if I saw them doing anything useful in their way. 



THE GLORY OF SERVICE. 7 

or if SO much work was not thrown upon us, just to enable 
them to keep holiday every day of the year. But I know 
it is no business of ours, and I was just telling Rachel so 
when you came in ; only, if it is wrong to think all this 
very hard, I wish you would help to put the thought out of 
my head, for I would not encourage a sinful thought for all 
the world ; indeed I would not." 

" I quite believe that, Mary ; and now what you have 
said yourself ought to be enough for you. If these things 
puzzle you and vex you, you can dismiss them by saying to 
yourself, * It is no business of mine.' You know your duty, 
and there is no call for you to consider whether others do 
theirs. We had best never think of such things. It only 
leads to rash judgments. The less we reason upon things 
the better. We are too ignorant, besides, to judge ; and, 
if we were not so, God is the judge of others, not we. 
Think, too, how little you know of any occupation beyond 
your own. Mr. Wyndham spends a good part of the four-and- 
twenty hours in the House of Commons about the nation's 
business. How do you know he is not very useful there ? 
At any rate he is doing his duty as Member of Parliament, 
and comes back very tired, I know." 

"But, Missis]" suggested Mary, doubtingly. 

" Mrs. Wyndham, as a good wife, must make his home 
comfortable and cheerful for her husband. People who 
have had bodily work, like us, want bodily rest ; but people 
who have had head work, which you and I perhaps know 
very little about, want to rest their minds ; and so they 
need the recreation of a little society." 

" But Missis and the young ladies take a great deal of it 
on their own account, and go out several nights in the 
week ; and Master does not always go, or comes home much 
earlier than they do." 

" Mr. Wyndham may himself wish them to mix with 
the world and make acquaintances. For anything you 



8 , THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

know, this may be done entirely to please him ; what his 
reasons may be I do not think we can judge. Perhaps he 
may think his daughters would be happier married, like 
himself, and may choose to give them the opportunity of 
settling themselves in life. I say all this to show you how 
much you may through ignorance misjudge persons, par- 
ticularly those who are in another class of life. But sup- 
posing it were j ust as you say, and that they really are the 
idle and frivolous beings you imagine, you ought only to feel 
the greater gratitude to God for the much more favourable 
position in which He has been pleased to place you." 

" More favourable 1 " 

" Yes, more favourable. I mean, of course, to your soul's 
interests." 

" I cannot see that. They have so much more time to 
give to God and so many more means of learning how to 
please Him." 

" One person, for the matter of that, has just as much 
time to give to God as another," said Mrs. Tyrell ; ''since 
every one has and can give every moment of life ; but, I 
repeat, your state in life is much more favourable ; there is 
no state of life so favourable as a servant's — none ; no state 
on earth so blessed or so honourable." 

As Mary continued silent, more from surprise, however, 
than acquiescence, Mrs. Tyrell went on quietly, her eyes 
fixed on the embers and a little as if she was talking to 
herself — 

" What so honourable as to serve 1 What so weak as to 
require service ? Who are most served ? Babies. Who is 
it who is always serving ? The Everlasting God, who waits 
upon His whole creation at every instant of time, or it 
would fall back into nothing. Who came to minister and 
not to be ministered to'? Christ Himself; and he who sits 
and rules in His place on earth calls himself ' the servant 
of the servants of God.' " 



THE GLORY OP SERVICE. ^ 9 

'' That is our holy Father the Pope," observed Mary ; 
"and I know we call priests ministers, which means 
servants ; but they serve in holy things, which keep God in 
their minds; they dun't scrub floors and wash plates and 
cook dinners, and have the bell rung for them every 
minute by a master or mistress, who seem — I don't say they 
are, but who seem — to be thinking a deal more about their 
own comfort than God's service. Oh, Mrs. Tyrell, I assure 
you, what vexes me most is that I feel all this bustle and 
driving about is doing me harm. I was so much better in 
the country ; everything there used to remind me of God, 
and I got up so cheerful, and the freshness of the morning 
came to me like the breath of God's own grace, and I saw 
His beautiful sun rise ; and, though the work was sometimes 
a little rough. Missis worked too, and had a kind and 
pleasant word for me often besides. Oh, it was so different ! 
I didn't mind service then." 

"You will never be happy, child, till you think of 
service differently from what you do now. Is not God in 
the town as well as the country 1 A farmer's wife you 
found a pleasanter mistress than a London lady. Perhaps 
so ; but, if you take that so much to heart, it shows that 
you served Mrs. Jenkins then and serve Mrs. "Wyndham 
now, and God very little. "We are all, you know, God's 
servants ; but service is blessed, Mary, because it makes our 
outward life so very like our inner and true life ; we 
servants ought at least to be in no danger of forgetting that 
we are here in this world only to obey. But come, Mary, 
you are tired and must go to bed." 



10 THE WYNDIIAM FAMILY. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE TWO SISTERS. 

While this little conversation takes place in the kitchen, 
a;nother is going on, three stories higher, in one of the best 
bedrooms, and we will take the liberty of stepping up there, 
and setting the clock of time a little back, that we may 
satisfy our curiosity by listening to that also. Two young 
girls, one of them scarcely escaped from childhood, and with 
that incomparably delicate bloom, its own peculiar possession, 
which sometimes lingers late, but once gone never returns, 
still upon her fair countenance, are dressing for a ball, or, 
rather, thej'- have just completed their toilet. They are 
attired alike, in white crape over silk, save that the eldest 
and dark-haired maiden has bunches of pink roses and silver 
for trimming, and her fairer sister similar ones of blue. 
The former is taking a final glance at herself in a cheval- 
glass, the latter is kneeling on a chair, gazing at a print 
which she has just hung up on the wall. 

" I looked at it," she said half to herself, " with more 
pleasure somehow in the morning." 

" At what, Gertrude"?" asked her sister, turning round. 

" At our dear Lady. She seems gently to reproach me, 
and ask me why I am dressed out in this fashion. I don't 
know how to try and be like her now, for our Lady never, 
never wore a gay flaunty dress like mine." 

" What nonsense you talk ! " exclaimed her sister. " How 
can you know what our Lady wore ? Dress varies with 
time and place. If you want to be like her, be good — that's 
common sense, say I — and dress like other peojDle. Besides, 
if you think she dislikes gay dressing so much, why does 
our cousin Maria Elliot deck out her image in gauze and 
lace and flowers on her festival days ? I am sure Maria is 



THE TWO SISTEBS. 11 

good enough at any rate, and I have heard you admiring it 
yourself, though I must say I think it rather bad taste ; but 
that is neither here nor there." 

" Our Lady has now all the ornaments of glory upon her, 
Emma," replied Gertrude ; " and so we attire her in what 
we ourselves consider to be ornamental dress as a symbol of 
this, and of our sympathy with her festival, which the court 
of Heaven is keeping in her honour ; but when she was on 
earth do you think she can have worn anything like gay 
clothing 1 Can you imagine her decking her own person in 
gay and showy attire V 

" JReally, Gertrude, there is no arguing with you if you go 
off in this way! However, it seems to me that you would 
prove that all festivity or tokens of rejoicing are sinful. 
But good Christians in all ages have honoured festive occa- 
sions by banquets, music, pageantry, and splendid attire." 

" I know that very well, and should never think of 
dreaming it was wrong to do so ; there is a meaning in all 
that, and a good one ; but society keeps very few such fes- 
tivals now. This is no festival or festive occasion to-night ; 
hardly any of the amusements we go to have that character. 
They are pure diversions, recreations, and we go dressed up 
like so many opera-dancers, that we may look to advantage ; 
and we enjoy these amusements ourselves, and our mothers 
enjoy them for us, just in proportion as we are noticed and 
admired : you must know that very well, Emma." 

" If it comes to this, Gertrude, you ought to be a nun. If 
the world is not fit for you, you had better go into religion ; 
that Ls, if you can get Papa and Mama's leave." 

" I don't see that, Emma. I do not know whether I have 
any vocation to be a nun ; but is there no alternative but 
living for the world and for amusement, content just to keep 
out of sin 1 " 

" How odd it is," said Emma, "that you always preach 
a little sermon of this sort just when you are dressing for a 



12 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

ball. If you think all recreation so very wrong, why do you 
take it so readily after you have made your protest against 
it?" 

" I don't think all recreation wrong, Emma." 

" I hardly suppose you can," replied Emma, ^' for it is 
allowed even^ in convents ; indeed it is prescribed ; so you 
see, Gertrude, that the principle is admitted. Of course 
their recreations differ from ours ; that is on account of the 
difference of state." 

'' But recreation must always have the same object, what- 
ever it is, Emma, — to fit us better for God's service. Now, I 
must own, I do not find these amusements do fit me better. 
I have to shake off the whole atmos])here and impression of 
them before I regain any inward peace. However, I have 
tried them bvit a short time ; maybe the novelty makes them 
affect me more." 

" Yery likely," said Emma, who had drawn near and was 
looking at the print, " I cannot say I feel any difference 
after a ball from what I do before, or anything to shake off. 
But where did you get that print ? It is really very pretty." 

" Tyrell gave it me, but I have had it framed." 

" Tyrell ! Gertrude," exclaimed her sister, her lip curling 
with disdain ; " do you take presents from servants ? I must 
say it was very impertinent of the cook to offer it ; but I 
should have thought you would have been above taking any- 
thing from one in her condition." 

" Tyi-ell is never impertinent," replied Gertrude, warmly, 
*' and would not think of making me a present any more 
than I should of accepting one from a person who cannot 
afford it. I will tell you how it happened ; you know 
Mama sends me often to order the dinner. One day, 
having forgotten to give some directions, I ran after Tyrell 
and followed her to her room, and there I saw this print, 
or rather its facsimile. I admired it, and she told me 
some good nun had given it her a great many years ago, 



THE TWO SISTERS. 13 

and two or three others besides, in case she liked to give 
any away, and I should please her much if I would accept 
one. I really do not think I could have refused her." 

'" Perhaps ?/ott could not; / do not think I could have 
bi-ought myself to accept it. I would never take anything 
from an inferior, on principle. It goes against all my ideas." 

'' But Tyrell is so good ; she is not like an inferior." 

"T don't see her great superiority; she is a quiet sort of 
creature, and a very good woman in her way, I have no 
doubt." 

" Oh, Emma, you don't knoAv — I am sure nobody knows 
— how very good she is. It always does me good to speak 
to her, and, excepting her own business, she never says any- 
thing but about God or one's soul, or eternity ; and what 
she says always comes home to me, however simple it may 
be ; indeed it always is simple. The other day I com- 
plained that time was so short for everything I had to do 
in London, and she said, ' Time is very short everywhere 
for the one thing we have to do.' Now I kept saying 
that to myself over and over again that whole morning." 

"Well, indeed, it is pretty free of her to treat you to 
her religious truisms." 

" They may be truisms, but they always seem to be 
something fresh as she says them. On my birthday again, 
a few weeks ago, when I was seventeen, I said, ' Tyrell, 
you must wish me many happy returns of this day, for 
every one has been making good wishes for me this morn- 
ing, and giving me presents ; if I only knew a receipt for 
insuring happiness, that would be the best present of all.' 
I said this cunningly, for I knew I should get something 
good from her. I saw she scribbled on a little bit of paper, 
and then she handed it to me, and saying quietly ' That 
is the receipt, it is well known, but it is a secret too,' 
walked away. I unfolded it and found these two words : 
' God alone.' I will keep it by me as long as I live." 



14 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

"Well, if you choose to take tlie cook for your spiritual 
director," rejoined Emma, scornfully, ''and encourage such 
familiarity in her, T can no longer wonder at the affair of 
the print. Does Mama know of all this ? It would not 
be much to her taste, I think ; she never liked our talking 
to servants. But I fancy you have taken good care to keep 
it from her." 

" Do you tell her everything, Emma 1 " asked Gertrude, 
who was beginning to be a little chafed at her elder sister's 
contemptuous manner. 

Emma coloured a little, " 'No, not everything exactly, 
where no good could come of it. I was not blaming you 
for that. But, Gei-trude," she resumed, with rather an 
abatement of tone, " I fear you have a chance of losing 
your humble monitor. Papa grumbles at Tyrell's cookery 
and talks of a change." 

" Oh ! don't say so, Emma. But how is that ? She 
has been with us several years, and I never heard any 
complaints." 

" No, that is true, and he allows she is painstaking, and 
does what she attempts nicely enough, but then he says 
it's old-fashioned cookery ; in short, she is not up to the 
mark. He was at two dinners last week, one at Sir 
Philip Eagle's and the other at Mr. Abinger's, and he says 
it was quite another thing." 

" But then think of the wages, Emma, which those two 
gentlemen give their cooks; why, treble probably what 
poor Tyrell has ; and then the extravagance of the dinners 
themselves ! How would Mama like that 1 " 

" That is very true, and so Mama is not disposed to 
part with her. That dear mammy of ours, as you know, is 
very discreet in the matter of stretching her purse-strings 
unnecessarily ; and then she keeps the household accounts, 
and Papa never looks at them, but only pays them in the 
lump. Tyrell is economical, and never forgets anything. 



THE TWO SISTERS. 16 

and Mama values these two qualities. I think probably she 
will have her own way. Papa expends his energies in giving 
his vote in the House, and having satisfied his dignity 
by influencing the councils of the nation and tilled himself 
out a good deal besides, he comes home and finds ]\Iama 
in all her force upon the household throne, able to bring 
her fresh powers, not weak ones in that line, to bear upon 
him ; and so she commonly carries the day, and he grace- 
fully yields or outlives his ungratified wdsh. Tyrell will 
probably remain, unless by any chance she was to ofiend 
Mama, who in that case would not keej) her a moment 
longer ; and, I promise you, if she was to treat our mother 
to any of her religious saws she would soon see the outside 
of the door," 

" Tyrell is not the least likely to do that." 

" No, she knows better, of course, whom she has to deal 
with. Even you would hardly venture upon being edifying 
except in private to me. Come," she added, putting her 
arm affectionately round Gertrude's waist and kissing her, 
" I think it is generally before a ball, as I told you, that 
you indulge in this fanciful strain ; but when I see later 
how you are enjoying yourself as much as any little mad- 
cap ever did, I cannot but suspect there is a good deal 
of imagination in the matter, and that the gaieties of 
the world, after all, do not come so amiss to my pretty 
sister." 

There was some truth in this, and Gertrude, smiling a 
little sorrowfully, said, that perhaps she only liked them 
too well. 

" There, I hear Roper talking to Mama, as she lights 
her to the drawing-room. The carriage will be here just 
now ; we had better go down and show we are ready." 



16 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

CHAPTER III. 

THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 

A WORD or two must be said about the mistress of the 
house, who, in a handsome dress of crimson velvet trimmed 
with rich lace, and with a head-dress in keeping, hovering 
in character between hat, turban, and cap, is standing on 
the rug in the sitting-room, waiting for her daughters, and 
engaged in the operation of getting a tight-fitting pair of 
gloves on, with all due precaution against their bursting. 

Mrs. Wyndham must have been extremely well-looking 
in her youth, and had still a striking appearance. She was 
like her elder daughter, and had perhaps been even hand- 
somer, though less pretty ; the character of the face being 
more strongly marked in both its good and bad points. 
These may be summed up as consisting in a pair of bright 
black eyes, whose lustre lacked softness ; a well-pencilled, 
dark eyebrow, too evenly arched to indicate any high order 
of intelligence ; a well-formed slightly aquiline nose ; haii' 
of a very glossy raven hue, which at candlelight at any 
rate betrayed no lines of grey, but which lacked softness in 
texture as the eye lacked it in expression ; a good set of 
regular and rather large teeth ; and a fine figure a little 
above the middle height. Mrs. Wyndham's extraction was 
very inferior to that of her husband ; she was, in fact, the 
daughter of a retired tradesman in a county town of little 
importance. Her father belonged to that numerous class 
generically styled good sort of men, whose characteristics 
may be considered to be chiefly made up of negatives. To 
the negatives must be added that of not being a very fer- 
vent Catholic ; but in his excuse it might be alleged that 
there was no Catholic cliapel within many miles of the 
little town where he made his moderate fortune and spent 



THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 17 

the bulk of his days. Few persons knew that he belonged 
to the ancient faith ; and it may be inferred that a man of 
his stamp was not likely to wish that knowledge extended, 
seeing that it would have been very far from an assistance 
in the ready sale of his cottons and silks. What made the 
matter worse was that it was diflBcult even in intimacy to 
detect the fact, or to observe any difference between him 
and the ordinary i-un of his Protestant neighbours. His 
wife, a bustling woman, attended a little more strictly to 
her religious duties, but she was ignorant, aud her children's 
education suffered in consequence. They went to a Pro- 
testant day-school, and had not the advantage of any 
counter-influences at home. Mr. Sanders at last retired 
jfrom business, removed from the neighbourhood, and, trans- 
formed into John Sanders, Esq., settled himself in a neat 
villa two miles from a large town in one of the midland 
counties, where, after having provided himself with fur- 
niture much too solid and handsome for his small house — a 
weakness not uncommon with men who have made their 
money in trade — bought a pony chaise, set up a tiger in 
buttons, laid out his garden prettily and filled it with a 
blaze of scarlet geraniums, he looked round complacently 
till the novelty was worn off furniture, tiger, and tom- 
thumbs, and ever after, according to the testimony of the 
friends who were best acquainted with him, scarcely knew 
what to do with himself. 

A little annual variety and excitement enlivened the 
family circle every Christmas in the shape of a visit from 
an unmarried elder brother of Mr. John Sanders, who was 
considered an important personage among his relatives, and 
went by the name of the Nabob. Through the patronage 
of a gentleman who had taken a fancy to the boy, Bill 
Sanders had been sent very young to India, where, with the 
help of fair abilities and fortunately-concurring circum- 
stances, he had realized a considerable sum of money and 

c 



18 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

returned to England to enjoy it as best he might, which in 
such cases is, generally speaking, very little. Besides, the 
poor man, if he had secured his earthly fortune, had made 
shipwreck of his heavenly. He had lost his faith, and con- 
formed to Protestantism. This act, accomplished while he 
was still very young, and the gradual result rather of 
ignorance and indifi'erence than of any formal resolution, 
had not, in his case, entailed the usual bitter hostility of the 
apostate to his abandoned faith. Still it was very generally 
believed that Mr. Sanders intended to make his nearest 
Protestant relative his heir, and, had not the young expect- 
ant imprudently expressed himself confidently on that head 
in the presence of some officious or malicious hearers, who 
reported his words, such would probably have been the dis- 
position of the East Indian's will. As it was, that worthy 
resolved at any rate to use the privilege which the living 
possess of changing his mind, and astonished and gratified 
not a little the family at Comptonville by informing them 
by letter one fine December morning, when announcing, as 
customary, the approaching day of his annual visit, that he 
meant to make his niece, Beatrice Sanders, his heii^ess, on 
condition of his being allowed to adopt the child. 

The little girl, who was frolicsome and forward, qualities 
which seem very commonly to recommend miniatui'e 
women in men's eyes, had always been a special favourite 
with her uncle. His home was lonely, and he probably en- 
joyed the prospect of enlivening it by the presence of one 
whose afi'ection might precede auy interested motive, and 
who, when old enough to value the prospect of inheriting 
wealth, might at least have acquired sufficient of a daugh- 
ter's tenderness to deter her from the desire of looking im- 
patiently to the moment of possession. She was a Catholic ; 
but what of that 1 He would see that she was not allowed 
to be "a bigot" ; and for the rest, he was quite ready to 
guarantee to her family her education in the faith of her 



THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 19 

parents. Those parents were only too willing to be satis- 
fied with these guarantees, and to hand over one of their 
inconveniently numerous family, and a rather troublesome 
child, to the enjoyment of such splendid prospects. The 
transfer was accordingly made ; little Beatrice accompanied 
her uncle to London, and a French governess was engaged 
for her tuition. By-and-by, however, the uncle took a 
fatigue of the instructress's presence, whose language he did 
not understand, and it was voted by him — having no one to 
vote against him, not even, as may be supposed, the child 
herself — that a governess could be dispensed with, and 
her education as satisfactorily completed by the help of 
masters in the various accomplishments considered necessary 
for the young lady. A bonne to sit in the room, who 
vanished when her company was not wanted, was supposed 
to answer all other purposes sufficiently well. 

When Beatrice was grown up, her uncle, who was both 
fond and proud of his adopted daughter, endeavoured to 
procure her every amusement in his power, and to introduce 
her to as good society as was within his reach. That society 
was, of course, not of the highest class, but a showy young 
lady, with good pecuniary prospects, and no appendages in 
the shape of dull, ugly, or vulgar relatives, at least none in 
sight, possesses many advantages for pushing her way. Miss 
Sanders knew how to use them when the opportunity offered : 
she had money, but wanted birth and connections ; Mr. 
Percy Wyndham had birth, but wanted money. Beauty 
and superficial agreeability were something over and above, 
which rendered Beatrice attractive in his eyes ; and so the 
match was soon concluded, to the satisfaction of all parties^ 
concerned. The retired linendraper and his wife were by 
this time dead, and the rest of the family apparently pro- 
vided for at a distance ; small mention was ever made of 
them. The Nabob had continued his yearly visits while his 
brother lived, and always took Beatrice with biin to see her 

c 2 



20 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

parents. Since their death all intercourse had pretty well 
ceased ; the old gentleman grew ambitious for his niece, and 
the young girl did not care for relatives of whom she knew 
little, and whose inferior education she despised, while they 
on their part felt ill at their ease with her. The conse- 
quence was that she expressed no wish to see them, neither 
did they care to put themselves in the way ; her uncle ac- 
cordingly availed himself of the mutual indifference, and 
never favoured any of them with an in^dtation to his town 
house, an invitation which, to do them justice, they neither 
sought nor desired. 

Mr. Wyndham was a barrister, the younger son of a 
Catholic of good family, which, although it had not out- 
lived its faith, had parted with its love and fervour. Such 
was the case, at least, with its head, who was supposed to 
be so slenderly attached to his religion as to hold to it rather 
from a point of honour than any other motive ; and it had 
been conjfidently asserted by many that he would lay it 
aside whenever the Catholic Emancipation Bill passed. In 
this expectation, however, his Protestant friends were dis- 
appointed. Mr. Wyndham remained a nominal Catholic, 
and educated his children in the old faith. It may be ima- 
gined, however, how deficient was the training which his 
sons especially received. Mr. Percy Wyndham was con- 
sidered a talented young man ; he studied for the law, but 
he wanted for application ; besides, he did not like his pro- 
fession, and the whole desire of his heart was for public life. 
Through the influence of friends much mixed up in politics, 
he was finally pushed forward in this line, gave up the law, 
and obtained a seat in Parliament. 

Mrs. Wyndham knew well how to grace her new situa- 
tion. She was reckoned handsome and agreeable, and her 
husband was proud of her. Beatrice was not altogether 
heartless, though the range of her afi'ections was very limited, 
but she wanted for sweetness, kindliness, and generosity of 



THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 21 

heart. Her love was selfish and common-place, and did not 
overflow her near domestic circle. She loved her uncle 
while he lived, because he had been kind to her, and made 
her comfortable and happy ; she loved her husband, because 
he was her husband, and kind also, and esteemed her some- 
how much above her deserts ; but chiefly she loved her 
children, as the nearest approach to part of herself. But 
did she love the poor ? I fear it must be owned, on the 
contrary, that in her heart she disliked them. Dirt and rags 
look unseemly, and do not smell sweet, and Mrs. Wynd- 
ham's senses were acute ; she accordingly loathed the sight 
and near approach of them. She would have shrunk, how- 
ever, from confessing, even to herself, that she actually 
loathed Christ's poor. Oh, no ! she only loathed these ac- 
cessories j but unfortunately it was in their accessories that 
she alone habitually contemplated them. And what of ser- 
vants ? They are commonly clean, at least, so may be said 
to make to our hearts the touching appeal of poverty, with- 
out its accompanying unpleasing accidents. Besides, these 
dear children of a common Lord live under our roof, and 
eat of our bread, and share our fears and hopes and inter- 
ests, and minister to our wants. But, no ; Mrs. Wyndham 
did not love servants either. True, they did not disgust 
her like the poor, and she valued good ones for solid reasons. 
But Mrs. Wyndham, although she possessed a lady-like ex- 
terior and manner, had a certain vulgar pride in her heart 
of hearts. She instinctively remembered that she had been 
raised from an inferior grade, and her whole education had 
tended to foster that most repulsive of all prides — the pride 
which springs from acquired station. The pride of birth and 
hereditaiy honours, whatever may be the faults it produces, 
seldom leads to contempt of a class so far removed in the 
social scale ; but if neither natural good-feeling nor Chris- 
tian charity combine, as undoubtedly they often do, to 
counteract or check the tendency, the jjarvenu is disposed 



22 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

to display Lis superiority in the eyes of the humbler classes, 
and to keep inferiors at a distance, from a false notion of 
thereby vindicating and maintaining his own position. Hence 
Mrs. Wyndham's ideas of wha+j was vulgar and of what was 
a *' demeaning of oneself," were really, for all her super- 
ficial polish, intensely vulgar. Servauts knew and felt this ; 
they have often a very fine tact and keen observation ; 
forced to be silent, they see and know their superiors more 
fully than these are aj^t to imagine ; and if, from love, they 
often judge their employers most partially, so, from lack 
of love, they often judge them most severely, and none 
so severely as those whose original situation was more 
approximated to their own. 

Mrs. Wyndham was, accordingly, not loved by her ser- 
vants, neither, to say the truth, did she much deserve to 
have their love. For the credit of her house she fed them 
well, and, to win a certain amount of popularity, to which 
she was far from indifferent, she treated them to some 
occasional recreation ; but she was hard in little matters, 
and overlooked their feelings. Her pride, indeed, was 
offended at any demonstration of sensitiveness, touchiness, 
or other human foible on their pare, as if, forsooth, perfection 
could be purchased as services may ; a pride usually ex- 
pressing itself in some such form as the following : " I 
have no idea of a servant doing or saying such a thing," or 
"It is an impertinence," or "a thing," — a generic term 
which could be universally applied where it was difficult to 
specify the crime — " which / make a rule never to put up 
with." 

Upon her children, as has been observed, this unamiable 
woman lavished her small and shallow stock of kindness. 
It was her longing desire to be loved by them in return, 
and this in a particular way. Mrs. Wjnidham, in short, 
desired a sisterly and brotherly rather than a filial love 
from her children. To gain this, all her efforts had been 



THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 23 

directed. She, so proud with inferiors, liad encouraged a 
very great degree of familiarity on the part of her son 
and daughters. She was greedy of their whole confidence, 
but she went the wrong way to obtain it. It is difficult 
for a parent, whom Providence has placed in the position 
of a superior, to win the species of confidential and free 
communication of all that the heart contains of good, bad, 
and indifferent which is frankly accorded to an equal. The 
mother may be, and ought to be, the child's best friend and 
adviser, but when childhood is passed she will seldom con- 
tinue to be its confidant. If a young person has been so 
defectively brought up as to require the consolation of such 
a depository of her little secrets, she will seek one in her 
sister or her friend, unasked and unsought, not in her mother, 
although this parent may lovingly and profusely lay herself 
out to secure the coveted boon. She loses the mother's 
prerogative to obtain the sister's, and fails of both. Per- 
haps she deplores the last of these two failures the most ; 
she is too shortsighted to see how much higher and deeper 
and more precious is the confidence of a child than the 
confidentialness — if one may say so — of the companion. 

But Mrs. Wyndham was quite a stranger to views either 
deep or high. Perhaps the sister's love was more attractive 
in her eyes than the filial, because it seemed to prolong her 
own youth. The present generation certainly — the poor 
always excepted — do not, taken collectively, become grace- 
fully old ; partly because they feel that age is out of favour. 
The whole current sets in an opposite dii-ection. Child- 
ren are brought forward early, the old kept back from 
going on to age's dignity and assimilated to the young. 
Hence this nineteenth century of ours encourages much 
freedom on the part of young people. Of course due 
allowance must be made for altered customs, and it is not 
desirable, were it possible, to recall the times when a child 
treated his parents with a formal respect ill-suited to our 



24 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

present social state and feelings. Still tlie principle which 
lay at the root of this behaviour was a good and a sound 
one, and it is to be feared that it is now often but little 
realized, and not merely expressed in forms more appro- 
j)riate to our day. 

A fresh idea, as it were, is afloat with regard to the 
relations between old and young, parents and children, 
and the result is hardly satisfactory. A dyke is broken 
down, a fence removed ; those who are ordinarily treated 
as familiar companions and equals will naturally learn 
to exercise the free privileges of companions and equals. 
Hence much of that mutual dissatisfaction which so often 
arises between mothers and daughters ; and if the reverence 
of sons less frequently suffers from this mistaken system, 
it is because there is in the nature of things such a fund of 
tenderness and sacredness in the love of the son for his 
mother that it is less easy to mar it ; for with the filial affec- 
tion in his case is blended the tender respect of man for 
woman. Besides, the mother is apt on her part to treat 
her sons with something of the corresponding deference 
and respect of woman for man, and so to have a thousand 
little nice considerations for his feelings which she will 
disregard in the case of her daughters. "Whatever faults 
her behaviour may serve to nurture in her sons, — and they 
are not a few, — it will at least often, though not always, 
preclude those collisions of temper which, in the end, per- 
manently break down the barriers of respect. 

The mother, however, after all, cannot forget that she is 
a mother, and if she desires to act the sister, it is rather 
besides than instead ; and so it was with Mrs. Wyndham. 
The consequence was, that, when displeased, she would 
endeavour to re-assume the maternal character j thus placing 
herself in an attitude which was a positive grievance to 
those who were not used to it. But after this assumption 
of authority, how could she resume the position of a sister 1 



THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 25 

The spell was broken. Gertrude's question to her sister, 
" Do you tell her everything % " although it had with her 
no special object, was in fact a home-thrust. Emma did 
not tell her mother everything. She was chatty and 
gossipy with her, but the secrets of her heart she kept from 
her. Not prepared to abide by her advice as her mother, 
she disliked the prospect of her interference as a superior ; 
she kept from her, therefore, any knowledge w^hich might be 
used against herself. Mrs. Wyndham knew whom Emma 
flirted with — and she did not object to her flirting a little 
— but she did not know whom Emma liked. Perhaps a 
certain Captain Baines, of rather slashy appearance and a 
very ready tongue, might not have received such frequent 
invitations to dinner, if the mother had suspected that the 
daughter regarded him as anything more than one among 
many superficial admirers. Emma knew that if her parents 
had suspected a growing partiality on her part, this in- 
dividual would have been very quietly sent to the right- 
about by the negative measure of non-invitation and the 
positive assistance, if need were, of a cold shoulder. But as 
the young lady did not feel convinced that she might not 
after all be very willing to link her destinies to those of 
this agreeable individual, she wished to give herself a 
chance ; when once matters had arrived at any serious 
point, she trusted to the indulgence of her parents and her 
own entreaties for obtaining their consent. 

And if Emma had her concealments, so had Gertrude, 
though hers were far more legitimate. She concealed the 
pious feelings which she cherished in her own bosom amidst 
the unfriendly and chilling atmosphere around her ; their 
expression would, she knew, elicit something like cold 
contempt, which, however provoking from a sister, would 
be unendurable from a mother. Besides, she instinctively 
dreaded interference with the few little devout practices 
and purchases in which she quietly indulged. Her mother 



26 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

would take the alarm, and believe that she was likely to 
become a nun ; her father perhaps would be spoken to, who 
would regard such a prospect, if possible, with still more 
profound distaste than his wife. Hence she anticipated 
nothing but vexation from allowing either of her parents to 
suspect the real state of her mind. But much evil was the 
necessary result of the dissimulation which she was con- 
strained to practise. First and foremost, as the root of all 
the rest, she was without the direction which she so much 
needed. Mrs. Wyndham had not the smallest idea of her 
daughters needing anything more in the spiritual way than 
she considered sufficient for herself. She performed her 
Easter duties — it was a question among his friends if Mr. 
Wyndham did so much. To this she added confession and 
communion at Christmas, and generally also at some one 
of the other greater festivals. On these occasions she was 
accompanied by her daughters. Emma was quite satisfied 
with this arrangement, and Gertrude, only just seventeen, 
had not the courage to express a wish which she was sure 
her mother would regard as a censure of herself Mean- 
while she mixed in a round of amusements which a secret 
voice within her seemed to denounce as inconsistent, if it 
were but from their bewildering frequency, with a true 
Christian life. Nevertheless, when she found herself in the 
gay ball-room, the excitement of the scene led her on each 
successive occasion to take a giddy share in the night's 
entertainment ; and she returned home to condemn herself 
for having committed an act of infidelity to God's in- 
spirations. She often blamed herself where she was not 
to blame, and did not see where her fault really lay. Be- 
sides, though from caution and timidity she dissembled with 
her mother, Gertrude was by nature communicative, far too 
communicative. Unlike him who, having found the pearl 
of great price, hid it, she was fond of producing hers in 
season and out of season, not from the love of display but 



THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE. 27 

from a tendency to that disease of the mind which will not 
allow it to retain anything long in its undivided possession. 
The perfume evaporates when the cork is drawn ; the dis- 
interred seed cannot fructify ; and thus good impressions, 
having found their satisfying act in words not deeds, are 
apt to remain barren of results. An intelligent director 
would have told her to hold her tongue, as the first condition 
of any real progress. The necessity never occurred to the 
poor child j it seemed pious to her to talk of her pious 
thoughts j we have seen her obtruding them on her sister, 
a most unprofitable hearer and recipient of religious com- 
munications, and one on whom they produced, moreover, an 
injurious effect ; for, seeing nothing to correspond with 
these desires and aspirations in the conduct ot her younger 
sister when in company, Emma was naturally led to look 
upon them as unreal and fanciful, and to regard piety itself 
as a mere matter of taste. 

And so Mrs. AYyndham lived a stranger to her daughters' 
inmost feelings. Lavishing upon them all her confidence, 
concealing from them nothing, taking them into little secrets 
which she withheld even from their father, doing nothing 
without at least consulting them, making everything bend 
to their amusement, throwing herself back into their age, 
finding fault with nothing but what she feared might prove 
a worldly disadvantage to them, and, if tiresome occasion- 
ally, tiresome for their vain interests rather than her own, 
she received no real payment in return for all this expendi- 
ture. Familiar on the surface, they were, in truth, reserved 
with her. The positions were reversed ; the child had all 
the mother's confidence, the mother only a discreet portion 
of the child's. The case is perhaps not uncommon. 



28 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

CHAPTER IV. 

GOING OUT. 

What an expressive word ! How things seem naturally to 
embody themselves to the ear in appropriate names. Going 
out ! And what is it, this going out 1 It is what young 
ladies are brought up for, and what they are not brought 
up for. It is what they are trained to desire, but snubbed 
if they betray that desire before the time. It is a course 
upon which, when once launched, they are urged forward 
in the inverse ratio of previous restraint, and where they 
must unlearn as awkwardness, much which before they had 
been taught as propriety and decorum. The contradiction 
might be drawn out at more length ; it exists even in the 
case of the worldly — how much more in the case of those 
who profess not to live for this world, but to be at warfare 
with it ! The whole education of the soul for that kingdom 
of glory to which it is travelling through its mortal life of 
probation, has for one of its chief objects to teach that soul 
to retire within, there to watch itself by recollection and fix 
its eye on God, for whom it was made, by the continual con- 
sciousness of His presence. To go out of itself is to expose 
itself to forgetfalness, to temptation, to sin. The less recol- 
lection the less holiness — this may be confidently asserted. 

Recollection, of course, may be preserved in the midst of 
a crowd, in the turmoil of business and all the distractions 
of a circle of pleasure-seekers, but by those alone who have 
already acquired the habit and who are of necessity exposed 
to such trials. A girl of seventeen can hardly be expected 
to be, ordinarily speaking, so perfectly grounded in the prac- 
tice, and as she is taken into the world ostensibly to amuse 
herself, not to exercise her virtue by resisting the fascina- 
tions of the scene, she is scarcely likely to fulfil the second 



GOING OUT. 29 

condition of being present of necessity, rather than by in- 
clination. To call the systematic round of gaiety into which 
young persons are launched at the appointed age, by the 
mild name of recreation, would I suppose be an aflfronfc to 
the common sense of any one ; the worldly have themselves 
discarded the inappropriate appellation, and laughingly call 
it dissipation. If all-powerful habit and human respect did 
not here exercise their mighty power, can we conceive a 
Catholic mother for seventeen years teaching her child what 
she deliberately takes her, when that period is over, to the 
school of the world to unlearn? She has taught her to culti- 
vate an inward spirit, she takes her where perforce she will 
be dragged out of herself, and go forth from the sanctuary 
of her own heart, where she so timidly and lovingly clung 
to her Lord's hand and looked up in His face to consult 
His guiding eye. She has taught her, amidst the variety of 
the day's occupations or recreations, to have one dominant 
thought and intention, knitting them all up into one act of 
homage and love ; she takes her where every temptation is 
held out to dissipation of mind, and where it must be hard, 
to say the least of it, to make an appropriate offering to 
God of either the time so spent, the motive of its being thus 
spent, or the spii'it in which it is actually spent. Her child 
must here unlearn the bashfulness with which her own 
modest nature and the dictates of divine grace taught her 
to shrink even from notice, far more from admiration and 
praise. She must unlearn it or the gay lighted ball-room, 
filled with observing eyes, and her own attire, however 
modest, still arranged with the confessed object of making 
her appear to the best advantage, must prove a penance not 
a pleasure ; and such is the case with many a shy young girl 
at first ; but this wears off, and what next ? When she 
ceases to be pained at exhibition, will she continue to be as 
great a lover of concealment ? 

Mrs. Wyndham, however, though a Catholic, had never 



30 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

endeavoured to cultivate in her daughters any character of 
mind which would have given rise to a contrast such as 
here described. She had always lived outside herself, and 
the hidden virtues were all unknown to her. Emma trod 
in her steps, and Gertrude's misgivings had certainly not 
their source in the lessons of her mother. Both sisters, 
however, had not been long in the ball-room before they 
seemed to be prepared to ecjoy themselves equally well. 
The spacious apartment was bright with the mimic day 
which a blaze of wax-candles produces ; it was not full 
enough as yet for the atmosphere to be close ; you could see 
and be seen. Dresses were fresh and uncrumpled, and faces 
did not yet wear a look of excited fatigue ; the bouquets of 
the young girls were unfaded and exhaled their choice per- 
fume ; no one had begun to look disappointed or out of 
humour, for it might prove a pleasant evening to every one; 
all, in short, was expectation and hope, like the beginning 
of life. 

The eyes of both Mrs. "Wyndham and Emma continually 
sought the door as guest after guest was ushered in, and a 
smile of satisfaction passed over the face of each at the same 
instant. Two young men had entered ; the one advanced 
instantly to join their party, the other apparently had the 
same destination, though he made his way in their direction 
less ostensibly, and occasionally stopped to exchange a word 
with some acquaintance on his road. The first was Algernon 
Wyndham, the only son, his mother's darling. He was ex- 
tremely handsome, with the dark hair and eyes of his sister 
Emma, but with much more sweetness of expression ; he had, 
in truth, a very engaging countenance and manner ; nor did 
these belie the reality as far as good temper and easiness of 
disposition were concerned. He was accordingly a great 
favourite with his sisters and friends, and knew well how 
to make himself liked wherever he went. He had a cordial 
obliging manner, a winning smile, and withal a superficial 



GOIXG OUT. 31 

good-natnre, which captivated the hearts of young and old 
alike. But Algernon Wyndham was nevertheless deficient 
in principle ; there was no solid worth beneath this agreeable 
exterior. He was a nominal Catholic, if never having de- 
clared himself a Protestant left him a title to the appellation, 
but in fact he had little or no definite religious belief. 
Shallow, though accomplished on the surface, the faith of his 
earlier years, which nothing in his education had tended to 
foster or strengthen, had received incalculable detriment 
from the plausible sceptical objections which he had heard 
from the lips of bad friends. Yet, though his faith, if not 
altogether dead, had been shaken and undermined, he had a 
certain good taste and feeling — it could hardly be called more 
— which made him refrain personally from anything like pro- 
fane language, at least in presence of those whom it might 
possibly wound ; and again, the very shallowness of his dispo- 
sition helped to keep him back from a bold assertion of 
unbelief. Without reverence for anything holy, he was 
also without animosity against it ; and piety even received 
at his hands the civil forbearance which he was ready to 
exercise towards all ; and so good people themselves were 
strangely mistaken in him, and disposed to think very 
leniently of so seemingly lovable a young man. It may be 
imagined, then, that his mother and sisters had never 
fathomed nor so much as suspected his intrinsic worthless- 
ness, though they were aware that he had his faults. With 
the exception of some chance observation which they did 
not scrutinize too closely, or the scope of which they did 
not appiehend, he had given no utterance in their presence 
to infidel views and opinions, and, as he did not live under 
the same roof with them, they could hardly tell what might 
be the amount of his observance or non-observance of his 
religious duties. Besides, Algernon was fond of music, and 
went occasionally to High Mass on that account, at the 
chapel which the Opera-singers frequented. He had in 



32 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

the first instance tried tlie diplomatic career, but, as he in- 
dulged in a good deal of extravagance and idled away his 
time as an attache, his father recalled him and made interest 
to obtain him an employment in one of the government 
offices, where he spent some hours every day, doing as little 
work as he could help, but greatly lightening the dulness of 
the time to some idle companions like himself by his gay 
and frank sociability. 

The gentleman who entered the room with him was his 
friend and intimate, Captain Baines, whom he had lately 
introduced to his mother and sisters. He had certainly no 
better principles than Algernon, but on this subject I need 
say no more at present ; neither was he by any means as 
amiable. Mrs. Wyndham, however, found him a very con- 
venient and enlivening addition to her frequent dinner par- 
ties. When making out the list to be invited, there would 
often occur a vacancy, or an expected guest would send an 
excuse, perhaps late in the day, and then Mrs. Wyndham 
would consult with her elder daughter, as to who should be 
asked. It must be some one to suit the rest, for the lady 
piqued herself on giving agreeable and well-assorted parties ; 
then Emma would cunningly suggest persons who she knew 
would not be considered as likely to answer the purpose ; or 
again, after mentioning others who might have been accepted, 
she would quietly drop out some objection, and thus gradually 
lead her mother round to think of Captain Baines, who some- 
how got on very well with everybody. The proposal always 
came from Mrs. Wyndham, who was not the least aware 
that she had not made a free choice. 

Emma is soon whirling round in a waltz with her fa- 
voured admirer, and Gertrude has not had to wait long for 
a partner. Mrs, Wyndham is not giving either of them a 
thought, but has been carried off by Algernon to introduce 
him to some desirable acquaintance. She is never so happy 
or so proud as when she walks about arm in arm with her 



GOING OUT. 33 

son ; she is proud of him ; and her own personal vanity 
is not a little gratified when it sometimes reaches her ears 
that they look more like brother and sister than mother 
and son. 

I have no intention of describing the ball, which was 
much like most other balls, nor Emma's flirtation, which 
was very like all others of the same description. As the 
hours rolled on, the indefatigable young lady, who had that 
excellent health which is often possessed by persons whose 
brains and feelings suffer very little wear and tear, looked 
as fresh as ever, and perhaps rather more brilliant, but the 
rose had faded from her more delicate sister's cheek. She 
had just declined dancing and complained of the heat of the 
room. Upon attempting to move, she gave signs of an incli- 
nation to faint, and her mother sent Algernon to call the 
carriage. But Emma was engaged three deep, and was much 
more distressed at having her amusement cut short than 
alarmed by her sister's indisposition. Her mother observed 
her ill-humour, but was bent on taking Gertrude home. She 
was glad, however, on Algernon's return with the informa- 
tion that the carriage had got up to the door, to effect a 
compromise by leaving Emma under her brother's care, that 
young gentleman readily promising to see her safe home. 

The pure blue daylight was pouring into the ball-room, 
dimming the candlelight, turning its artificial splendour 
into tinsel and robbing many a sham of its lustre, including 
not a few complexions ; the party was fast melting away, 
and it was more than time for Emma to go home ; but she 
did not like to hurry her brother, and^ truth to say, was in 
no hurry herself When at length she suggested the ex- 
pediency of a move, Algernon suddenly remembered that it 
was very inconvenient for him to bestow the benefit of his 
escort. Kensington, where the ball was given, was a long 
way from the paternal mansion, and equally far from the 
young man's lodgings, which were, indeed, near at hand. 

D 



34 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

He had forgotten till this moment, but he had an invitation 
to breakfast that morning which he could not miss. If he 
took Emma home, it would make an hour's difference, or 
more, in the very short repose he could afford himself; 
however, he was quite at her disposal, if she wished it ; but, 
if he were to see her into a cab, would she mind going home 
by herself] There could be no possible risk, and it seemed 
absurd for him to make that long journey for no purpose. 
Emma had some inward misgivings, but disliked disobliging 
her brother. It is more popular and pleasant to say "yes" 
on such occasions ; besides, the young lady had an absurd 
dread of seeming over-particular. No, she had not the least 
objection to the arrangement, she said ; and so, after some 
trouble, a cab was procured. Algernon gave his directions 
to the driver, who grunted his assent, looked in once more 
at his sister, and, with his own good-humoured smile, saying, 
" I suppose, Em, it may be as well to mention nothing of 
this to the old birds — good night," he banged the door, and 
the cab forthwith rattled off. 

But Emma did not particularly like the arrangement ; 
she had never been in a cab by herself, and she disliked, 
moreover, the idea of having to tell a lie, or evade the 
truth, with the fear of its coming out after all in some way 
or other. The servants at her father's door, too, would see 
she was alone ; Algernon had not thought of that. So 
completely was she pre-occupied as she passed along 
Knightsbridge that she hardly noticed at first that the 
vehicle went very oddly. Whether it were the fault of 
horse or driver, so it was, that they seemed to proceed by a 
succession of jerks, and now and then describe unpleasant 
curves upon the road. As they had it pretty well to them- 
selves at present, it did not so much matter ; but this would 
be unpleasant if it continued in the narrower streets. 
Emma had a mind to put her head out and remonstrate, 
but the air was chilly, and she drew back, partly on that 



GOIXG OUT. 35 

account and partly because at that moment a few foot- 
passengers were in view, and she disliked exposing her 
head with its wreath of pink roses, and being seen in the 
act of screaming observations to a cabman, for the dawn 
was now far advanced. By-and-by they reached Hyde 
Park Corner, and the cabman, instead of proceeding along 
Piccadilly, turned up Park Lane. Emma thought he was 
going the wrong way, but stay — he takes a turn up to the 
right at last j she thinks it is up Chapel Street ; bat now 
again he turns to the left, up South Audley Street — where 
is he going ? and the horse bolts on and stops, and the cab 
jolts worse than ever : she must speak. Accordingly she 
puts her head out through the window and cries, " This is 
not the right way to Berkeley Square." The cabman 
answers in no very articulate voice, but she thinks she 
catches something about stones, which leads her to conclude 
that he is obliged to make this circuit on account of the 
mending of the road ; and so she resigns herself and leans 
back once more. They are now rattling along at a rapid 
pace ; another cab is coming from the opposite direction ; 
there is ample room to pass, but, just as they meet, her 
own conveyance describes one of its eccentric curves, and 
the wheels of the two cabs become locked together. 

Poor Emma was thrown on to the opposite seat, and, as 
she was recovering herself, her ears were greeted by a 
storm of abusive epithets, and an equally angry volley in 
reply, exchanged between the two diivers. The disagree- 
able fact flashed upon her that her own conductor at least 
was drunk. Hardly had the idea crossed her mind before 
she heard a sharp cut of a whip, directed by the incensed 
cabman against his compeer. The man leaned on one side 
to escape it, and, the startled horse at the same moment 
making a sudden plunge forward, the box was as suddenly 
vacated by its top-heavy occupant. The afirighted animal, 
no longer feeling the restraint of the reins, now galloped 

D 2 



36 THE WYNDHAM FAMILV. 

off furiously, while the poor girl, clasping her hands, sank 
back on her seat in an agony of terror. The catastrophe, 
as may be supposed, was not long delayed. The horse 
rushed on into Grosvenor Square, then, taking fright at a 
cart, turned sharp down Upper Grosvenor Street. It had 
not gone far before the wheel caught on a lamp-post, and 
the cab was upset, Emma's head struck violently against 
the side, and immediately losing all consciousness, was 
extricated from the vehicle by a policeman, amidst the com- 
passionate ejaculations and eager questions of a group of 
persons of motley description, whom an accident does not 
fail to collect in a minute, as if by magic, at all hours. 

" Poor young lady ! Is she dead 1 Dear me ! look at her 
smart gown, and all by herself too." 

There was nothing to indicate either the name or the 
place of abode of this elegantly-dressed young person. The 
tiny pocket in the satin petticoat contained neither card nor 
address, and an embroidered pocket-handkerchief with the 
initials E. W., did not furnish much available information. 
A cab, which one of the bystanders had procvired from a 
neighbouring stand, now rattled up full speed, and there 
appeared to be nothing to be done but to convey the 
apparently lifeless form, along with that of the unhappy 
cabman picked up in a still worse condition, and quite 
insensible, to the nearest station-house, in the next street. 
The noise had meanwhile, it would seem, attracted the 
attention of a wakeful ear in a substantial house near 
which the accident had occurred. A window on the second 
floor had been gently raised, and, although the church clock 
had not long struck five, she whose hand had lifted the 
sash could not have risen from her bed for the purpose, for 
scarcely a minute elapsed before the hall-door was unlocked 
and a tall figure, dressed in black, with a shawl thrown over 
her head, emerged and descended the steps. Bending over 
the young girl and raising her in her arms, she spoke in a 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 37 

gentle under-tone to the policeman. The import of her 
address was soon evident; she had undertaken the care of 
the sufferer, while the policeman, in pursuance of his duty, 
should proceed with the cabman to the station-house, and 
endeavour to obtain all necessary information from the man, 
as soon he was sufficiently revived to convey it. Mean- 
while no time was lost in carrying Emma into the friendly 
house which had so opportunely opened to receive her. The 
door was then closed, and the street soon relapsed into its 
former silence. 



CHAPTER Y. 

ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 

When Emma came to herself and opened her languid eyes, 
they rested upon what appeared to her to be sweeping white 
clouds, from a rent in which a cherub looked forth, or what 
might have been one of those youthful cherubic counte- 
nances, sweet little winged heads, which are represented 
as peering down from the sky, only that the face of the 
creature which was gazing at her was not furnished with 
heavenly plumes. Emma recollected nothing, and thought, 
perchance, she was dreaming. Is it her guardian angel ? 
No, it looks too human. It has a pretty, innocent, inquir- 
ing countenance, and see ! it winks its eyes and stoops 
forward. Oh, no, it is not an angel ; it is a child, or a 
young girl. And now it speaks softly, as its little caressing 
rosebud of a face comes nearly in contact with her own, as 
if it would kiss her if it could venture. 

"I am so glad," it whispers, "you are better; but do 
tell us who you are. Mama wants so much to know." 



38 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" Am I ill ? " said Emma ; "but who are you 1 you are a 
dear little thing, but I never saw you before." 

The rosebud, thus encouraged, ventured on the kiss. The 
curtain which had represented the white cloud was now 
drawn j^artially aside by another hand, and a fair young 
girl older than the first, with a sisterly resemblance but a 
sedate countenance, whispered, " Pauline, you must not 
disturb her now ; see, it is too much for her ; " for Emma, 
in fact, had turned very faint and was near losiug her 
consciousness once more. 

At this moment the door was heard gently to open, and 
a little suppressed talking ensued, followed by the appear- 
ance, this time, of the very ordinary and matter-of-fact 
countenance of a grave-featured gentleman which there was 
no chance, at any rate, of confounding with the angelic. 

" Who are you now ? " thought Emma ; but the effort of 
thinking seemed too great and that of speech still greater, 
so she held her peace and watched her visitor. He calmly 
regarded her, and then, after that pause which, doubtless 
for some good reason, medical men always interpose between 
their appearance on the scene and the feeling of the patient's 
pulse, he gently took her hand. 

Emma knew at once that he was the doctor. " Where 
is Mama V she asked. 

" My dear young lady, that is what we wish to know. 
Where does she live ? Will it tire you too much to try 
and remember ? " 

" She lives here, does she not ? " asked the poor girl, look- 
ing rather bewildered ; "is not this Berkeley Square ? " 

The doctor was satisfied ; he was too wise to worry his 
patient further, so he nodded to some invisible person 
behind him, and after giving Emma a few drops of some 
composing mixture, closed the curtain. Within a very short 
time Emma's friends had been relieved from the agoniz- 
ing anxiety in which they had spent the last few hours. 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 39 

"While the sick girl is recovering from the first stage of 
a slight concussion of the brain, and is advancing to a state 
in which she remains an object of gi'eat care, after ceasing 
to be one of considerable anxiety, we must take a glance at 
the members of the family of which she had become the 
chance inmate. JMadame d'Hericourt, the mistress of the 
house, was the widow of the Marquis d'Hericourt, a French 
officer of distinction. Her own mother tongue, however, 
was English, she being the daughter of a West Indian 
planter, of Flemish extraction, of the name of Eytell, settled 
in Jamaica, and married to an Englishwoman. He had sent 
his two daughters to finish their education in a French 
convent, and while they were still pupils in this religious 
house, but had just completed their education, a reverse of 
fortune suddenly befell their father, which was followed by 
his speedy death. Tlieir mother had already preceded him 
to the grave. The two orphans were left utterly destitute ; 
but the maniage of the elder, Pauline, soon relieved her 
from the necessity of earning her livelihood by her own 
exertions. M. de Sablon, a French officer of much merit, 
struck by the eminent Christian virtues which adorned the 
soul of the portionless girl, made her an offer of his hand. 
M. de Sablon was considerably her senior, but Pauline felt 
for him both respect and gratitude, and believed she was 
securing her earthly happiness and forwarding her eternal 
prospects by becoming the wife of so exemplary a man. 
It was a marriage founded on esteem and recommended by 
prudential considerations ; but God had blessed it, and, 
after giving to their friends and their own immediate family 
for some years the edifying spectacle of a truly Christian 
marriage, the husband and wife were separated to await a 
happier reunion. Emile de Sablon, who, from the death 
of a distant relative, had inherited the lands and Marqui- 
sate of Hericourt, died as he had lived, and left an example 
of benediction to his children, none the less truly and fondly 



40 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

regretted by his wife tliat their union had been formed 
under what would be termed unromantic circumstances. 

The second of the orphans, Anne, who had been earnestly- 
pressed by her sister and brother-in-law, on their marriage, 
to accept a home under their roof, steadfastly declined the 
offer, and some time after had mysteriously disappeared. 
Glad, indeed, would the desolate widow have been to have 
had the soothing consolation of her sister's society, as well 
as her kind assistance in the education of her own two little 
girls, the elder of whom had received the name of that dear 
and lost companion of her youth. Leaning, however, on 
God, she strove to rear them in His fear and love, and 
according to the maxims Avhich had taken deep root in her 
own quiet soul. Madame d'Hericourt had what many per- 
sons would call rather old-fashioned notions, and could not 
by any means throw herself into modern ideas concerning 
education, the relations between parents and children, or 
the part which women are called upon to play in the 
business of life. Not but that she freely confessed that 
different times had their special social manners and customs, 
which drew their reason of existence from living circum- 
stances; and that to transplant these bodily to a period 
when such circumstances no longer exist would be a very 
unreal, unprofitable, and even mischievous proceeding, a 
mere slavish imitation of externals, always inappropriate, 
often ridiculous, and decidedly savouring of affectation. 
Still she believed that there were certain old principles, as 
old as Christianity itself, which were more deeply realized 
and more fully carried out in past times by good people 
than they are at present, and that the manners and customs 
then prevailing lent themselves more readily to such a 
realization and practical application than does the modern 
constitution of society. 

Her ideas on these subjects might be summed up under 
three general principles, which were profoundly rooted in 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 41 

her mind. The first was the principle of parental authority, 
not to be separated from, but involving, parental responsi- 
bility. She held that no usages of society or modern prac- 
tice could alter the essential relationship between parents 
and children. The familiarity subsisting between them 
could never be that of equals. Children, nay, grown chil- 
dren — for young persons are but grown-up children — ought 
never to be released from the duty of respect and obedience, 
on the plea that the same practical results may be obtained 
from the spontaneous love and tender gratitude of the child's 
heart ; a fallacy, moreover, which experience daily disproves. 
The second principle regarded the proper sphere of 
woman. This she believed to be home, and the duties and 
charges which the care of the family involves : the ordering 
of her household, the education of her children, and those 
thousand little minute considerations inattention to which 
renders home uncomfortable and, what is worse, unprofit- 
able to its inmates, whether it be the cottage of the poor or 
the mansion of the rich, and from personal superintendence 
of which neither wealth nor position can dispense. She 
thought that under the specious pretence of training up 
women to be agreeable and intellectual companions, instead 
of dull housekeepers and nurses, they were educated upon 
a plan which altogether lost sight of, and made them lose 
sight of, their proper vocation. Even good and religious 
people, she considered, gave in to this error of the day. 
Girls are brought up in an ignorance of household matters 
which would have made our grandmothers open their eyes in 
amazement ; and as much time is devoted to accomplish- 
ments as if they were to make their bread upon the stage 
or in the concert-room. The intellect, meanwhile, receives 
that species of cultivation which the acquirement and the 
act of acquiring a stock of miscellaneous and superficial 
information impart. It is sharpened, not trained. But, 
above all, the powers of conversation are encouraged and 



42 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

drawn ont, bashfulness being esteemed a defect which has 
to be corrected. To be "a very pleasant girl with a great 
deal to say for herself," is higher praise even than that of a 
good musician or an accomplished singer. It is what " gets 
a girl on in the world " and makes her popular. There may 
be nothing, it is true, to prevent the "pleasant girl" from 
proving an agreeable partner in life when she marries, as 
marry she probably may ; but it is hard to conceive, or at 
least Madame d'Hericourt found it hard to conceive, how 
out of such materials the Christian matron was to be de- 
veloped. She might, indeed, be amiable and affectionate, 
and even pious and religious in her way, but the whole 
tenour of her daily existence would, it is to be feared, fail 
to teach that silent lesson which the lives of Catholic 
matrons in old times, not to say in other countries at the 
present day, so often and so admirably taught, and still 
teach, where the type is cherished. Nay, she considered 
that the very idea of the matron is too often obliterated in 
the modern Englishwoman's mind. The word, it is true, 
may be used at times, but only to signify a certain period of 
life j its beautiful characteristics are well-nigh forgotten, or 
have become matter of history. 

The " matron," then, as Madame d'Hericourt pictured the 
character to herself, and as exemplified in the olden time, 
might be a less brilliant and agreeable companion than the 
modern wife ; she had probably much less to say for her- 
self; perhaps she could not talk politics, or give her opinion 
upon a number of general subjects and questions of the day ; 
perhaps she had none to give ] her time was chiefly taken 
up in the superintendence of her household and the nurture 
and instruction of her children. She cared personally for 
the well-being of her servants, both in body and soul ; she 
taught the ignorant ; she rose early to give the first of the 
day to God ; her hands were busy with needlework and 
skilled in the art ; she reached them forth also liberally to 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 43 

the poor ; and when you saw her cross the threshold of her 
door and draw her modest veil about her, it was not to 
make a round of profitless calls, but to visit her Lord in the 
Tabernacle, or in the persons of the sick and the sorrowing, 
in the hovel, the hospital, or the prison. Such women once 
abounded, and their character was at least the type before the 
eyes of the well-disposed which in its severer lineaments it 
has now ceased to be. Such women were a real blessing 
to their husbands ; not because they smoothed the path of 
life and made them forget their cares, but because their 
virtuous example won them to God, if sinners, and drew 
them on in the path of holiness, if good men themselves. 
" Her children rose up and called her blessed ; her husband 
also, and he praised her," — praised her, not for what the 
world praises, but for those things which have praise of God. 
Such a woman, supposing her even to be deficient in literary 
knowledge and accomplishments, was a far greater blessing 
to her husband than the most elaborately educated and 
mentally endowed wife can be, who has really never been 
taught, and cannot therefore practise, the duties of her state ; 
nay, who has not been taught what they are, and therefore 
does not even perceive her deficiencies. But, after all, good 
sense and judgment, a cheerful and obliging temper, com- 
bined with such a solid and sensible education as is perfectly 
compatible with thorough instruction in household matters, 
will make a woman a sufficiently intellectual companion for 
any man. 

The third principle in Madame d'Hericourt's old-fashioned 
code respected the marriage of children ; this, and especially 
in the case of daughters, she reckoned among the responsi- 
bilities of parents. It was the duty of parents, when there 
was no sign of a vocation for a religious life, to provide, so 
far as in them lay, for the establishment of their daughters 
by a suitable marriage. This duty may be, and doubtless 
has been, abused ; but what duty has not ? It has been 



44 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

abused in two ways. V7here parents have enjoyed tlie 
power and prescriptive right of selection, they have, from 
overrating worldly advantages, not been sufficiently solici- 
tous to secure the proper moral and religious qualifications 
in tbeir daughters' husbands, or have overlooked the feelings, 
preferences, nay, even the disinclination of their children. 
Where, on the other hand, it has been the custom to con- 
sider that the parent has but a negative voice in the matter, 
— a belief against which the parent's convictions will always 
instinctively rebel, — the same avaricious spirit has produced 
in some the vice of match-making, a mere perversion of a 
real obligation, and in others an unreasonable opposition to 
an attachment which the freedom and unrestrained inter- 
course of society have allowed to spring up, and against 
which no sufficient objection can be urged when once it has 
been formed. Madame d'Hericourt clearly perceived that 
the matter involved a very difficult and delicate problem. 
On the Continent it is solved by committing the affiiir 
wholly, or almost wholly, to the parents, leaving the daugh- 
ters the mere negative power of a veto, a right for various 
reasons not often exercised. She saw the advantages and 
the corresponding disadvantages of this plan. We English 
are keenly alive to its bad results, but we are blind, on the 
other hand, to the mischiefs of our own system, which is, 
generally speaking, to allow young persons such freedom of 
intercourse as shall give them the opportunity of forming 
their own preferences and making their own choice, subject 
to the interference and opposition of the parent at any stage 
of the business. How often this interference and opposition 
has begun to be exercised only when it was no longer pos- 
sible to make it effectual to prevent a most undesirable 
alliance, or, if successful, has inflicted on a young heart such 
misery as it might have been easily spared, the secret annals 
of thousands of families and thousands of hearts could alone 
disclose. 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 45 

Madame d'Hericourt endeavoured to steer a course mid- 
way between the extremes of the two systems, with the 
view of combiniug the advantages of each and avoiding 
the evils of either. With this view, without letting her 
authority appear in the form of restriction, she virtually 
chose the society which she allowed her daughters to enjoy. 
She was not anxious that they should have many female 
friends, certainly not any who might come in their way. It 
is scarcely conceivable what harm foolish girls do each other, 
— good-natured, well-meaning girls, with what is called no 
harm in them ; and yet parents are so solicitous that their 
children should have young friends of their own age to draw 
them out, enliven them, and rub off that bashfulness which 
makes general society a pain to them and themselves, as 
it is considered peculiarly unattractive in general society. 
Young friends, it is true, draw each up to theii' own stature, 
like young trees in a plantation ; but how much individual 
folly becomes joint-stock property in this close intercom- 
munication no one can tell, — certainly not the parent. But 
if careful in admitting to the society of her daughters young 
girls of their own age, unless well assured that the intimacy 
was likely to prove beneficial to them, still more cautious 
was she in opening her doors to young men. The quiet life 
which she led, of course, facilitated this precaution. Persons 
who mix in general society must of necessity be somewhat 
comprehensive in the class admitted to acquaintanceship, 
and it is very difficult to be on one's guard to hinder 
acquaintanceship from becoming intimacy. The difficulty 
in her case might rather have lain in an opposite direction. 
To the good Providence of God, however, upon whom she 
implicitly relied in every affair of life, she committed all 
her cares, confident that in so doing she would be relieved 
from all perplexing solicitude. 

A friend of her youth, somewhat her senior in years, who 
had been brought up at the same convent, and whom she 



46 THE WYNDHA3I FAMILY. 

looked up to as an elder sister, had married two or three 
years before herself. The husband of her old school-fellow 
was an English Catholic, so that the friends only met 
occasionally ; but they had always kept up a correspondence 
by letter, chiefly upon the subject which, as mothers of 
families, interested them most deeply ; and they often in- 
dulged in a little castle in the aii^ of a future union between 
their childi^en, reared, as each knew the other's to be, in the 
same good and religious principles. "When M. d'Hericourt 
died his widow resided principally at the old French 
chateau where she had spent her married Kfe ; coming to 
England for a few months occasionally at a time. Her friend 
Mrs. Rochfort, was now dead, as well as her husband, and of 
her children one only, the eldest, Eustace, sui'vived. In his 
favour Madame d'Hericourt made an exception, and to him 
she opened her doors, glad for the sake of the loved departed 
to give the solitary youth something of a substitute for the 
lost advantages of a home. He was a grave and steady 
young man, estimable rather than brilliant ; he was pos- 
sessed of moderate fortune, and had come to town to study 
for the bar. His spare time he spent chiefly in Madame 
d'Hericourt's house, where he had a general invitation, and 
was treated more like one of the family than as a stranger. 
Under such circumstances an intimacy was sure to spring 
up between the young man and Madame d'Hericourt's 
daughters. It was her desire that this should be the case 
to a certain extent, but she carefully, though silently, 
watched over its progress, — especially in the case of the 
elder, of whom alone it could at present be question, and 
imperceptibly checked and kept it within moderate bounds ; 
for she knew that if opportunity gives the advantage of 
mutual knowledge, it is apt, nevertheless, in a great degree 
to blind the eyes as to unsuitableness of character. There 
is a certain charm in free and unrestricted intercourse which 
in a xevj short time will cause intimacy to ripen into a 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 47 

kind of fictitious attacliment, and a preference will spring 
up "wliich under other circumstances would never have 
existed ; and this in spite of a radical want of true sym- 
pathy, not to speak of otlier still more serious objections. 

Madame d'Hericourt took care that nothing of this 
kind should happen ; she did not wish to make a match ; 
far even was she from desiring to prevail on her daugh- 
ter to marry, if perchance she might have higher views 
and attractions, as, after all, it was quite possible might 
be the case, although as yet she did not evince any vo- 
cation for a life different from that which her mother 
had chosen before her. Madame d'Hericourt then con- 
sidered that her part in the affair ought to be much 
more of a negative than positive nature ; so that, after 
furnishing the young people with an opportunity of 
knowing and appreciating each other, she took care not 
to move a single step towards the encouragement of a 
mutual liking. For this end she contrived quietly to 
engross — if I may use so strong an expression — the 
friendship and confidence of the young man, instead of 
leaving him to the companionship of her children ; while 
calling him by his Christian name, she did not permit 
the same liberty to her daughters, a precaution which 
always helps to maintain a certain distance. Without 
allowing her object to be perceptible, she seldom left 
them alone together, and never for any considerable 
space of time; for although she had the most perfect 
trust in the modest reserve of Anne, the elder, as well 
as of the young man himself, and was sure that their 
behaviour would be precisely what it would have been 
in her presence, yet she was well aware of the powerful 
effect which, as has been observed, familiar association, 
under no superintending eye, has in drawing young 
hearts together. Reasons may be given for this, but 
much is beyond explanation; certain it is, that the 



48 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

number of persons present weakens the sense of mutual 
relationship of any given two individuals, unless that 
relationship already exists, or has been previously esta- 
blished in some way ; whereas two persons, if at an im- 
pressionable age, and tolerably pleasing, may perhaps not 
be left alone together for very long without beginning 
to feel or fancy themselves something to each other. 
Madame d'Hericourt took care not to acquiesce for a 
moment in the delusion of supposing that young people can 
easily be like brothers and sisters to each other when 
no such tie exists. Under cover of that pretty fiction, how 
many likings have been fostered into being ! 

When Eustace spent the evenings with them, Madame 
d'Hericourt would frequently propose the reading out 
aloud of some book which combined instruction and 
amusement, encouraging occasional pauses for conversing 
on the topics suggested,^ — a proceeding which helped to 
elicit the young man's opinions, and enabled her to be- 
come acquainted, as well as make Anne acquainted, with 
his character. The young girl herself, meanwhile, sat at 
her work, off which she seldom raised her modest eyes, 
or ventured upon an observation, except when Eustace 
might address a question to her in a voice of gentle in- 
terest, in order to learn her opinion, to which she would 
reply with frankness and simplicity, but with a certain 
timid difiidence, which the young and ignorant ought natu- 
rally to feel, but which would seem to be regarded now- 
adays as a fault which it were desirable to correct. 
Pauline, her junior by three years, also sat at her needle- 
work, perhaps on a low stool, in order to facilitate an 
occasional quiet game with a pet kitten ; and I will not 
answer for it that she always listened quite as well as her 
sister, and that the kitten had not a full half of her thoughts 
and attention ; for this girl of sixteen was still a thorough 
child in tastes and feelings, and her mother was glad it 



ANOTHER HOUSE ALTOGETHER. 49 

should be so ; Pauline's mind was undeveloped, and how 
much better it was that it should remain shrouded in the 
protecting bands of childhood till it was fit to understand, 
to bear, and take a part in the stern realities of life ! Happy- 
grown-up child, who keeps to her toys and her kitten 
instead of making a toy of those same terrible realities ! 
Madame d'Hericourt seldom therefore noticed, never found 
fault with, Pauline's wandering attention in these hours of 
recreation, except when it became an interruption to others ; 
and it is equally certain that Eustace never asked this little 
one's opinion. 

The evenings were sometimes varied by the entrance of an 
old French priest, attached to a London mission ; and then 
the book was laid aside, and the conversation would turn on 
some religious topic ; or the old man would be solicited to 
tell them some tale of never-dying interest about the perse- 
cutions and sufferings of Catholics in the days of the French 
Kevolution, of which he had borne his share ; or he would 
be asked the latest information respecting missionary 
labours and trials in foreign climes, or drawn to talk of 
his own flock, of their difficulties, their poverty, their temp- 
tations, and often of their strong faith or piety, with which 
the pastor's heart is cheered amongst many discouragements 
and disappointments. At an early hour the party always 
broke up. 

Such was the quiet and sober recreation which succeeded 
a day of serious though varied occupation. Perhaps the 
reader may think that Madame d'Hericourt was rather 
precise and rigorous, and carried her principles to an ex- 
treme. Perhaps she did — perhaps she did not — I do not 
pretend to decide the point. I simply narrate. 



50 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE LOST ONE. 

" Why did you look at me twice so particularly, Mama 1 " 
asked Anne softly one morning, lifting her eyes from her 
book. 

" I did not know you observed me, child." 

" T felt you were looking at me," replied Anne. 

" Well, it is true," rejoined her mother, with a sigh — she 
did not often sigh — " I was tracing a resemblance I never 
noticed before, to your Aunt Anne." 

" May I ask a question, dearest mother 1 " 

Madame d'Hericourt smiled a gentle assent. 

" Why do you seem sad when you mention Aunt Anne 1 
Once, only once, before you said something about her ; you 
told me then that we had lost her, but that she was very 
good. If she was very good, then, dearest mother, she has 
gained God if we have lost her ; and you never speak sadly 
about the dead who loved God, not even about Papa." 

" We have lost your aunt," replied Madame d'Hericourt 
gravely ; " but I did not say she was dead. She m«y be 
dead ; I wish I knew ; a mystery hangs over her fate. There 
is no reason, however, my dear, that I should keep the 
matter secret from you ; so, if you like, I will tell you the 
history of Aunt Anne till we lost sight of her. Though the 
remembrance saddens me, yet there is much matter of joy 
too." 

Anne drew her chair nearer, and listened, with scarcely 
an interruption to 

THE STORY OF AUNT ANNE. 

" My sister Anne and I were, as you know, brought up 
together at the Convent des Oiseaux at Paris. We were 



THE LOST ONE. 51 

very unlike each other. I was much what I am now ; I 
wish I had made more progress. It pleased God I should 
have few difficulties to contend with, and I fear I have 
abused this mercy by remissness. I had a serious disposi- 
tion and a placid temper ; I loved my teachers and my 
studies; I shrank from the world, and dreaded the hour 
when I should have to leave the convent school, with its 
regular quiet life. Anne was extremely pretty ; her beauty 
was delicate and ethereal — what might be called sylph- 
like — and she was endowed with varied talents, and an 
imaginative turn of mind. She had a multitude of wishes 
and aspirations, accompanied with a restless longing for 
the exercise of these gifts of nature, and for the food after 
which her imagination craved. It was not precisely a love 
of display which possessed her, though her disposition would 
have rendered her peculiarly open to the temptation ; in 
the mean time she was well content with using her own 
mind as a theatre in which she was both actress and 
spectator ; or with admitting me to fill the part of audience. 
" Speaking of a theatre reminds me of a circumstance 
which formed a little epoch in the history of Anne's mind. 
My father brought us both over as children from the West 
Indies, to place us at the convent school where we were 
educated. The few days he spent with us in Paris he 
devoted to the amusement of his little girls ; and two 
nights before he consigned us to the charge of the good nuns, 
and the hallowed precincts which were to. be our abode 
for so many years, he took us both to the Opera. I have 
a very indistinct recollection of the brilliant scene ; we 
had neither of us ever before been within the walls of a 
play-house. I know I was dazzled and astonished, and 
returned with a very bad headache ; but upon Anne that 
night* made a far different impression, and my clear per- 
ception of this circumstance has given the incident a pro- 
minence in my memory. Not a gesture, not an attitude^ 

E 2 



UNiVERSITY OF 1^"^^^^ 



52 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

not a note in that little world of splendour and harmony, of 
which she had had those few hours' glance, was lost upon 
my sister, and it seemed to have called into active being 
a corresponding world within ; nay, her very outward form 
appeared to be possessed and inspired, as it were, with 
the grace and agility she had witnessed, as her ear had 
drunk in the inflexions of voice which had so charmed 
and be^vdtched her. The vacation occurred very soon after 
my father's departure, and we spent it at the house of a 
relative since dead. Here T often caught Anne singing a sort 
of recitative and attitudinizing in her own room before the 
looking-glass — not, I verily believe, from any motive of 
vanity, but for the sake of indulging in the pleasure of 
imitating the pose and voice of the Opera-singers. Her 
great delight, however, was to induce me to play and sing, 
and, while I sat thus employed at the instrument, she 
would invent and execute simultaneously a kind of mute 
ballet in which a little story was embodied. This amused 
me much, but it was more than amusement to Anne. ' Music 
is poetry,' she used to say : 'all the world knows that ; but 
so is dancing, — I mean real dancing, such as I saw at the 
Italian Opera. I did not know it was so till I saw Taglioni 
that night. Xow all movement seems to me to fall into 
cadence, and when I hear a dramatic strain, I feel suddenly 
endowed with gracefulness ; life seems turned into a poem.' 
Anne was my senior by two years ; but, had I been older, 
I should probably never have shared her enthusiasm, w^hich 
proceeded, I believe, from a latent dramatic genius. Once 
she said, ' I think I should have liked to be an actress ; ' 
but this I told her I thought wrong. ' Perhaps so,' Anne 
replied musingly. 

" My sister was not able to cultivate her taste at our 
school, the nuns put a stop to the theatrical gesticulating 
the very first time that the new pu2:)il was detected indul- 
ging in the amusement. Anne was not happy; she became 



THE LOST OXE. 53 

very silent and absent, and made Kttle progi-ess in lier stu- 
dies, although her abilities were good ; even in music she did 
not advance, and I found out the reason. She told me she 
thought to music ; I believe that, while practising, she com- 
posed stories, in which she played some interesting part, or 
she mused on some favourite idea, upon which, she told me, 
* the light of the music fell, and made it glow like a jewel.' 
Practising, of coui'se, while this imaginative process continued 
was out of the question. It was much the same with every- 
thing else. Anne's mind was so constituted as to pour itself 
forth all in one direction, and she was li%mg an inner life 
quite apart from, and even at variance with, her outward 
existence. Xeed I say that piety suffered as well ? It is 
true, and I am most confident, for I had her own assurance 
when we argued the point one day, that the thoughts in which 
she took delight were not only innocent but loftv and enno- 
bling ; still, havinor self for centre, the love of God was so far 
excluded, and, if she did not actually turn her back upon 
Him and forfeit His grace, she lived habitually out of His 
presence. My sister was not judged tit to make her first 
communion at the usual age ; it was deferred accordingly 
to the period appointed for my own. I think Anne was 
mortitied at the delay, but I hardly fancy she regi-etted it ; 
a sure instinct apprized her, I believe, of the antipathy which 
the Spirit of God within her must feel to this life of nature 
in which she indulged, and made her shrink from so near 
an approach to Him fi'om whom she was keeping back her 
heart ; or, rather, that same Spirit of gi*ace, who reproves 
the world of sin, would not leave her in ignoi*ance of her 
offence or of the ti-ue reason why the face of God was not 
towards her. For. although she continued for some time to 
defend herself when I assured her that there was sin, and not 
imperfection only, in the day-dreaming to which she gave 
herself up, after a while she suddenly dropped the subject, 
and became veiy sad and silent. She appeared also to be 



54 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

taking more pains with lier daily tasks, but it was all in 
a very spiritless and lifeless way, and the change was far 
from satisfactory. Indeed faults came into notice, or sprang 
into being now, from which she had hitherto seemed free, 
and that sweetness of temper which she had before always 
manifested, was frequently disturbed. I have reason to be- 
lieve that she had consulted her confessor upon the subject 
of the kind of inner drama which she was constantly playing, 
and that he had forbidden the pernicious practice. My 
sister had put it away from obedience, and because she would 
not offend God by known sin ; but the trial was a sore one 
to her." 

" But why," asked Anne, modestly, " should this act of 
obedience, which must have so far been agreeable to God, 
have given strength to any evil feelings ; still more, how 
could it have created them *? '' 

" Because, my dear child, I believe there was little love 
in the act. "We seek naturally our happiness, our content- 
ment ; it is that we are still seeking when we look for it 
out of God, the only good. Our happiness is love, love of 
the Supreme Good ; but earthly things can put for a while 
a fair surface upon their vanity and give a temporary satis- 
faction, especially while hope is strong, as it is in youth. 
Hence Anne had found a sort of deceitful happiness in her 
day-dreams : this she was called upon to sacrifice ; she 
complied, but reluctantly, and from the fear rather than the 
love of God. Deprived of her habitual food, she seemed 
to have nothing in its place ; for the consolations of reli- 
gion and the sweetness of God's communications to devout 
souls are not for those who give grudgingly. 

^* About this period we went for the last time to spend 
our vacation with the kind relative whom I have already 
mentioned, and whose death was before long to leave us 
without friends in Paris beyond the convent walls. It 
happened on one occasion that a Jesuit father preached 



THE LOST ONE. 55 

at the church which we frequented. He was a man of 
deep piety, and, as is common in such cases, he spoke 
with that unction and persuasive power which experimental 
knowledge of what is taught can alone impart. He took 
for his text those words of the prophet Isaias : ' If tho\i turn 
away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy own will 
on my holy day, and call the Sabbath delightful, and the 
holy of the Lord glorious, and glorify Him, while thou dost 
not thy own ways, and thy own will is not found, to speak 
a word ; then shalt thou be delighted in the Lord, and I 
will lift thee above the high places of the earth, and will 
feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father.' He 
spoke of the mystical sabbath here typified, the rest of God 
in the soal. God is our centre, our place of rest j He is that 
everlasting sabbath of repose for which the soul longs, and 
which He sets before her as her goal. But how shall she 
attain to this centre while still ' in the way ' ; for God is 
in heaven and she on earth '? She has not far to go. In 
the soul which is in grace there is a new heaven and a new 
earth. The Triune God comes to keep holy-day with it ; 
and His centre, the throne of His glory, is within the 
centre of that soul, as in its sanctuary. If the soul thvis 
honoured would enjoy the privileges of this heavenly sab- 
bath, she must cease from work, she must lay aside all 
human operations, all human desii'es, all mere human acts. 
She must turn her foot away from doing her own natural 
will, however innocent that will may often seem ; nay, 
there must not be a word on her tongue even which is her 
own, the mere expression of unsanctified nature. If we 
would enjoy rest in God, we must suffer God to rest in us ; 
' for His place is in peace,' and this sabbatical rest which 
He desires to keep within us must suppress all self-activity 
as its necessary condition. Such are the terms on which 
alone we can hope to be raised to the contemplative love 
of God, those ' high places of the earth,' that Mount Sion 



56 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

within us, in which it pleases Him to dwell, in which He 
has established His mercy-seat, and from which the holy- 
Psalmist beseeches Him to shine forth : ' Thou that sittest 
upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin, 
and Manasse.'*. Shew us thy face, O God, and we shall 
be saved.' Even s<-», Lord, exclaimed the preacher, shine 
forth before all the powers of our soul, that, drawn together 
towards that inner centre of unity, that ' Jerusalem which 
is built as a city which is compact together,' they may 
go up like ' the tribes of the Lord,' as one man, ' to the 
testimony of Israel.' There shall the soul find ' the abun- 
dance ' which Thou hast prepared ' for them that love Thee ' ; 
there shall she be fed with ' the inheritance of Jacob our 
father.' 

" Much more did the preacher say, which I have forgotten. 
Not a word, however, was lost on Anne, a flood of light 
was poured in upon her soul, and from that moment she was 
a changed person. She could do nothing by halves ; hers 
seemed that alternative which presses so peculiarly on some 
natures — all for God or all for the world. ' I cannot divide 
myself,' she said to me one day. ' I feel that my salvation 
is bound up with my perfection ; God seems to have shown 
me this ; it is my weakness that renders it necessary.' And 
so she found matter of humiliation to herself in all the 
graces and favours which, I believe, from this time forward 
God vouchsafed to her in rich abundance. 

"Not long after we had both made our first communion 
temporal calamities fell thick upon us. The news reached 
us of our father's death, and shortly after we heard that 
his affairs had been left in great confusion ; and then 
again, after a brief suspense, we received the astounding 
information that we were actually penniless. My father's 
property was to be sold, and it was not expected to realize 
a sufficient sum to meet the demands of his creditors. 
There was no provision, therefore, for us, his two only chil- 



THE LOST ONE. 57 

dren, wlio from rich heiresses were suddenly by this severe 
stroke become destitute orphans. What was to be our 
future 1 The relative to whom I have alluded as residing 
in Paris was now dead, and other relatives we had not ; at 
least none of whose existence we were cognisant. Friends 
we had none, save the good nuns, and of acquaintance, only 
such as we had casually met at our cousin's house in the 
vacations. Amongst these, your father, M. de Sablon, had 
been a frequent visitor. Five-and- twenty years my senior, 
to my childish eyes he had seemed, if not old, certainly not 
young ; and his marked though quiet notice of me had 
accordingly gratified me much, as testifying the approbation 
of a highly honourable and estimable man of a paternal age. 
1 also often heard him spoken of in terms of high praise, 
and had personally the frequent opportunity of observing 
his deep and fervent piety. Such being his character, and 
such my regard for him, it need have been matter of no 
surprise had I hesitated, under other circumstances, to decline 
an offer of marriage on his part ; but, coming, as that offer 
did, at a moment when, I must own, I shrank with some 
consternation from the life either of dependence or of 
toilsome exertion which lay before me, I considered it as 
a providential relief from the embarrassments of poverty. I 
was grateful for the disinterested affection of a man whom I 
truly valued, and was gratified by the esteem and approba- 
tion which it unequivocally imported. Need I say I never 
had cause to repent the step I took 1 

"But to return to j^nne. You might pjerhaps expect 
that her choice would soon be made, and that her call 
to the religious life was clear. Not so, however. She ap- 
peared at present to have no evident vocation. Her direc- 
tor was decidedly of this opinion ; neither, I think, was she 
tempted to differ from his judgment, in which, at any rate, 
she submissively acquiesced. My desire, as you may well 
suppose, was that my dear sister, in the event of not being 



58 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

called to a higher life, should accept a home under our 
roof; a wish in which my husband cordially joined. Anne 
agreed to profit by our offer for a short period, in order 
to afford time for deliberation with regard to her future 
life ; but she clearly gave me to understand that, if not 
worthy to become the spouse of Christ in religion, she 
meant to earn her own livelihood in some respectable 
situation, suited to her abilities. T did not argue the point 
with her, but hoped, with the help of time and opportunity, 
to prevail on her to change her resolution. Meanwhile 
circumstances arose which appeared likely to render my 
persuasion unnecessary. Gustave de Sablon was considerably 
his brother's junior, and was endowed with a thousand 
natural good qualities, enhanced by every external advan- 
tage and accomplishment calculated to recommend him in 
a young person's eyes. Unfortunately he had been ill 
brought up as respects religious principles, or, rather, his 
religious training had been totally neglected. He had lost 
his mother while still very young, and had receis^ed an edu- 
cation altogether secular in its spirit, character, and aims. 
Irreligious associates completed the work ; but Gustave was 
not naturally of an infidel or irreligious turn. Early im- 
pressions would recur, and the example of his elder brother, 
whom he both loved and venerated, worked powerfully upon 
a mind led astray from truth and the paths of holiness, but 
neither utterly perverted nor radically corrupted. He would 
often say (so I have since learnt) that he wished he could 
believe, and would regret his lost faith. Another hopeful 
sign in Gustave was his respect and admiration for virtue 
superior to his own, and the attraction which he experienced 
towards genuine piety. Sanctity, however high, however 
far removed from his ken, had still austere, if not winning 
charms in his eyes. Such being his sentiments, it is hardly 
surprising that a being like Anne, uniting to every orna- 
ment of nature so many higher gifts, should touch his heart. 



THE LOST ONE. 59 

All the good elements within him combined to render the 
impression made by my sister's beauty, sweetness, and 
merits, as deep as it was sudden. Knowing, however, 
his disqualification in a religious point of view, although 
at that time not fully aware of its extent, I could not 
allow myself to cherish the hopes I might otherwise have 
entertained, neither did I believe that Anne, who seemed 
little disposed to engage herself by any earthly tie, was 
likely to be induced to change her views in favour of 
one who, to say the least, neglected the duties of reli- 
gion. I believed her also to be so totally engrossed with 
her new feelings, and so filled with the love of God, as 
to have room in her heart for nothing else, certainly for 
nothing discordant. 

" I was mistaken in my confidence, and had yet to learn 
the difference between what we possess by nature and what 
is lent to us, as it were, by grace. Upon certain natural 
qualities you can almost reckon under any circumstances or 
under any temptations ; they seem an integral part of us, 
like our bodily members ; but of those virtues and disposi- 
tions which are the gift of grace, and the real treasure of 
the soul, that soul may be robbed in one unguarded hour ; 
especially if exposed to opposite influences, before habits 
have been acquired, the old nature thoroughly subdued, and 
the new life established and fortified upon the ruins of self- 
love. Fair and sweet was the first bloom of this divine 
life in Anne's soul, but it was neither the full flower nor 
the fruit as yet. She had truly said that she must be all 
for the world or all for God, and for awhile I began to think 
it would be all for the world once more — all for the world 
once more, at least, in the shape of an engrossing earthly 
affection. Had this attraction presented itself before the 
sweet offer to her soul which I have recorded had taken 
place, I feel convinced that she would have yielded up her 
whole heart to it without reserve, without inquiry, with 



60 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

all the abandonment of lier deep and tender nature. As 
it was, I must do her the justice to say that she was held 
back to a great degree, as I afterwards discovered, by her 
uncertainty as to Gustavo's attention to his religious duties 
— of his free-thiiiking opinions she was entirely" ignorant, 
as indeed I was myself. Meanwhile her reserve of manner 
and his own bashfulness, the effects of a true and deep 
affection, united to keep him silent ; but no one could mis- 
take his feelings. At last he spoke to me, told me that his 
whole soul was devoted to Anne, and besought me to plead 
his cause. I need not enter into the particulars of all that 
occurred ; suffice it to say that I frankly replied that, much 
as I loved him, I could not interest myself in his favour 
until assured of his religious state. Gustave was too up- 
right and honourable to disguise the truth from me ; but 
he professed himself well disposed, and said that his love for 
Anne had increased his desire to return to the belief and 
practice of his earliest, happiest, and best days. He did 
not deny, however, that the poison whicli he had imbibed 
from intercourse with unbelievers still rankled in his mind ; 
their plausible and sophistical arguments had still power 
over his intellect ; but he would read, he would place him- 
self under his brother's advice and direction in that respect; 
nay, he w^ould do better — he would pray that the gift of 
faith might be restored to him, if lost, or reawakened in him, 
if dormant ; for Gustave, as I have already said, was by 
no means a confirmed unbeliever. Such being the case, I 
promised to mention his suit to Anne, although holding 
him out no expectations of success, as, indeed, I had none 
for him myself, now that I was fully acquainted vrith his 
deplorable spiritual state. 

" Little, however, had I anticipated the effort it would 
require on the part of my sister to relinquish her afiection 
for him, even under any circumstances. A few months 
before, she would not so much as have entertained the idea 



THE LOST ONE. 61 

of connecting herself with one whose piety should not be a 
support and an encouragement to her own. Incautiously, 
however, she had permitted herself to love one who she 
well knew could be no better than a lax and tepid Chris- 
tian; and now that she learnt that he whom she had allowed 
to usurp a place in her heart was not so much as a Christian 
at all, and only wished to be one — possibly, who could say % 
for the love of her alone — the disco veiy burst upon her like 
an appalling thunder-clap, paralyzing and bewildering all 
her powers. Seeing, to my surprise, that she was incapable 
for the moment of returning an answer, I advised her to 
take time to consider. Meanwhile I promised that Gustave 
should absent himself. 

"A week of silent struggle followed. One morning a few 
sealed lines were placed in my hand : — ' My dearest sister, I 
once told you that I could not divide my aflections. Shame 
do I take to myself that, after all I have experienced 
of the untold sweetness and goodness of God, I should 
sacrilegiously endeavour to share this little miserable 
heart of mine, for which He has deigned to ask, with an 
unbeliever. Need I say that He will never accept this 
partition % He would leave me ; for, to act thus, would in 
me be to leave Him. The combat is over ; but I must fly 
temptation ; I cannot rely on my own firmness. Forgive me, 
dearest sister, and beg M. de Sablon to forgive me for any 
pain that I have caused him. I w^ill pray for him, but will 
see him no more. I could not trust myself to bid you adieu, 
or communicate my plans to you. I have retired for one 
day to the convent w^iere we were educated ; Reverend 
mother, who knows all, has found me a situation suitable 
for me ; I leave her to-morrow. Do not seek to see me, 
dearest Pauline ; it is better not at present. Adieu ; God be 
with you.' But I did seek her, without, however, beiug 
able to persuade her to return ; indeed I desisted from the 
attempt when I had listened to her reasons ; for they were 



62 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

just. Having determined to reject my brotlier-in-law's offer, 
she could not, as she truly represented to me, either expose 
herself to the trial of meeting him, or be the occasion, by 
residence under our roof, of separating him from the influ- 
ences most likely to lead him to good. Accordingly she 
had accepted a situation of companion to an invalid lady, 
the wife of a rich merchant at Bordeaux. Time and changed 
circumstances might, I hoped, one day reunite us ; and so 
we parted, and have never met since." 

Madame d'Hericourt paused, overpowered with the sorrow- 
ful recollection awakened by her recital, and then resumed : 
*' Shortly after this, my husband received a letter from the 
West Indies with reference to the affairs of my late father. 
There were steps, it appeared, which might be taken, towards 
recovering for my sister and myself a share of the property ; 
but it was desirable that some one should be immediately 
empowered to act in our behalf. My husband decided upon 
undertaking personally to investigate the matter, and ascer- 
taining what was proper to be done. I of course accompa- 
nied him, and we sailed without loss of time for Jamaica. I 
had previously received satisfactory letters from dear Anne. 
She said little about her mode of life, but assured me she 
was very happy ; indeed her letters were almost entirely 
confined to spiritual matters, and testified to the peace and 
joy which she experienced. I have here treasured up the 
last few lines I received from her. 

" ' Dearest Pauline, I have nothing to say, or too much. 
You will think I am a bird with only one note, and an 
impertinent bird too, to seem to wish to teach you, who are 
so much better than I am ; but I have but the old song 
to sing. Love God only, if you would be happy. Admit 
no love which is not included in that love, for He is 
supereminently all that is desirable — all that the senses, the 
intellect, or the heart delight in — all, all, all. I think that 
for the first time I seem to have a glimpse of what our 



THE LOST ONE. 63 

dear Lord meant when He said that whoever gave up house, 
or wife, or children for His sake should receive manifold 
more in this life. He is beauty, fragrance, sweetness, splen- 
dour ; not better only than these are in the earthly order, 
but He is all these, and gives Himself to us as such in 
so intimate a sense, that were we to have no other life 
as our reward than that which He would live in us here 
below, we should turn with contempt from these poor types 
to the realities, or, rather, look on them only with com- 
placency, as being the shadows of substan ial things.' 

" The result of our visit to the West Indies was unsatis- 
factory, and we soon prepared to return ; but at the very 
last moment we were unexpectedly delayed by my husband's 
indisposition. The vessel in which we were to have sailed, 
and in which our friends expected our arrival, was lost 
on its voyage, and only a few remnants of the wreck, 
picked up at sea, proved the melancholy fact, while they 
failed to tell any further particulars of the terrible catas- 
trophe. All had perished, but who had perished could only be 
learned from other sources. My husband and myself were, of 
course, numbered with the dead. We had written by this very 
vessel to signify our delay, and had also apprised our friends 
that, as we hoped to follow soon, they were not to expect 
another letter before our arrival. You can easily under- 
stand that the result of these coincidences was the firm 
persuasion of our death on the part of our friends in 
France, and that some time elapsed before contrary intelli- 
gence reached them. Gustave learned the news of his 
brother's supposed death about the same time that another 
event appeared in the public papers, — the bankruptcy of the 
Bordeaux merchant with whose wife my sister lived. The 
unfortunate man subsequently committed suicide, and left 
his widow a beggar. From reasons which I need not detail 
to you, it seems that he was neither loved nor respected ; and 
his wife, w^ho, like himself, had been of obscure origin, had 



64 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

no relatives or friends to assist her. The ruin of these for 
tunate sj^eculators, in short, excited neither pity nor interest, 
and Madame Le Yoisin was left to struggle with her misery 
unaided. 

" It was with much difficulty that Gustave discovered the 
poor abode which sheltered this unhappy woman. He 
sought it with the double object of breaking to Anne the 
afflicting news of the loss of her only relative, if as yet it 
had not reached her, and of making a tender of his services, 
and of a temporary home on the part of some near relatives 
of his own. Gustave's attach uient to my sister was undimi- 
nished, and he still cherished hopes of prevailing on her to 
change her determination ; but this he felt was not the 
moment to press his suit, and he respected her misfortune 
too much to intrude upon it by any allusion to the subject. 
He found that Anne was already acquainted with her loss, 
and was not more astonished at her heavenly composure than 
at the destitution in which he discovered her and the poor 
fretful woman who, so lately surrounded by every luxury, 
was now abandoned by dependants and servants who never 
loved her. Anne alone had not forsaken this poor creature, 
for whom she performed every menial office, and who, as I 
have since learned, selfishly absorbed in her own suffering, ill 
repaid the disinterested charity of the one friend she under- 
servedly possessed. God alone knows vv^hat my dear sister 
may have endured, but a serene peace shone on her brow j 
which awed Gustave's compassion into a respectful reserve. 
She seemed desirous, however, to shorten the interview ; 
and, after speaking a few words of consolation to him who 
had come to console her, she took leave of him, pleading 
the necessity of attendance on Madame Le Yoisin, whom, 
she assured him, she had vowed not to desert. My brother- 
in-law returned to his lodging to meditate upon some mode 
by which he might convey secret assistance to the suffering 
widow, and thus indirectlv relieve Anne's necessities, which 



THE LOST ONE. 65 

were too palpable, although she had striven to conceal them. 
But Madame Le Yoisin was on her death-bed, and a fort- 
night later was borne to her grave, attended by a single but 
a sincere mourner. 

"There was, however, another interested spectator of 
that funeral, who, unobserved, followed that one mourner to 
her obscui^e home. It was Gustave. Unable any longer 
to repress his feelings, he threw himself, in tears, at my 
sister's feet, professed himself a believer, assured her it 
needed but her influence to complete the reform and make 
him a changed man, and entreated her not to reject him 
this second time. He had far too much delicacy to allude 
to her unprotected and destitute condition, but doubtless he 
cherished a not unreasonable hope that this consideration 
might — if it were needed — weigh with Anne, and lead her 
to see the finger of Providence pointing to a union which 
human prudence as well as mutual inclination seemed now 
to recommend. But Anne's prudence was not human 
prudence. She appeared, however, if not staggered, at least 
too much overcome to give him a reply ; she besought him 
to leave her that day to herself, promising that if he would 
call on the morrow he should have her reply. He de- 
parted, equally divided between hope and fear ; but hope 
prevailed ; and his worst anticipation was a doubtful oi 
a procrastinating answer. What a disappointment awaited 
him ! On his return, with a beating heart, on the following 
day, he found, not Anne, but a letter. It contained her 
adieux, with thanks for his kindness and prayers for his 
welfare. She had, she candidly told him, overcome the 
human preference which she acknowledged she had once 
entertained for him ; she had long before committed the 
matter to God, and believed that He designed her for a 
different life, and one which would offer fewer temptations 
to her weak soul. Such being the case, he would noli 
wonder at her not allowing worldly considerations to plead 

F 



66 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

in betalf of a step to which other motives had failed to 
move her. She had thought it better for both that she 
should give her answer in writing rather than bj word of 
mouth. This, and not hesitation, was the cause of her 
delay. As for himself, she assured him that he would 
have reason hereafter to rejoice that he was spared anything 
which might throw a doubt on the sincerity of his convic- 
tions, or diminish the merit of his return to God. ' Let 
that return, my dear friend,' she concluded, ' be pure from 
every earthly motive. Kemember me no more, except in 
your prayers, where alone I shall recollect you. May God 
be with you. Any search after me would be fruitless.' I 
will not descrit)e to you Gustavo's misery, nor his agonizing 
search, from which no prohibition could restrain him. He 
traced my sister to a neighbouring convent, of which he 
saw the Superioress, who candidly told him that she had 
promised Anne not to reveal the place of her retreat." 

" Had she entered the convent ? " asked Anne, with an 
uplifted countenance of deep interest. 

" We thought at first she might have entered it as a lay 
sister," rejoined her mother, *' and made strict inquiries 
after our return to France ; but it was not so." 

" And my Uncle Gustavo 1 " asked Anne. 

" He died a good Christian," replied Madame d'HIricourt. 

Both mother and daughter remained silent a moment. 
Anne felt that the story of her aunt was finished. After 
a short pause they both rose, and Anne, with a gentle 
earnestness exclaimed, *' O, how I wish I was like Aunt 
Anne ! " 

" "We can copy her," replied Madame d'Hericourt, '* in 
being docile to God's voice and teaching. All are not called 
to the same path." 

Each then turned to the duties of the day. 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 67 

CHAPTER YII. 

FRESH IDEAS. 

Scene, a comfortable bedroom on the ground-floor, with a 
large window looking out on a small garden at the back of 
the house — such a garden as London can afford. There 
was a good-sized tree in it, which, notwithstanding the 
dinginess of its trunk and the dustiness of its leaves, had a 
refreshing influence. There was a rustic bench, on which 
no cleanlj-attired person probably had ever had the hardi- 
hood to sit down, but which might be considered to impart 
a certain air of repose to the inclosure, with a few square 
yards of grass, which, if not very flourishing, were pleasanter 
to the eye than grey slates, and seemed to furnish no despic- 
able entertainment to some smoke-dyed sparrows. 

Four young ladies occupied the room. The eldest, Emma 
Wyndham, of whom we seem to have almost lost sight — an 
accident which, we can certify, seldom occurred to the lady 
herself, — is lying on a sofa at the foot of the bed, attired in 
a very tasty white dressing-gown, trimmed with delicate 
pink ribbons. It becomes her, and she knows it ; she was 
well enough by this time to have worn an ordinary gown, 
which, indeed, would have required no greater effort to put 
on than this pretty robe ; but then wliat is the use of having 
an ornamental dressing-gown if we can never show ic 1 
Convalescence furnishes the opportunity for an appropriate 
dress of its own, and, to Emma at least, this was one of the 
small consolations of that state. Gertrude and Anne are 
sitting near her, and by each other ; they are both fair girls, 
and so far like, but there is a contrast in many other 
respects. Anne is the most majestic, Gertrude the most 
graceful. The rose had beea more liberal to Anne's cheek — 
not too liberal ; there was allowance for the blush of youth 

F 2 



6S THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

to deepen it, as it often did, without detriment to its charm ; 
but the slight colour which relieved the transparent white- 
ness of Gertrude's complexion went and came like the 
evanescent hues of the mother-of-pearl. Anne is occupied 
with some needlework ; Gertrude is watching her sister. 
The other young lady — ah ! we had almost forgotten her, 
she is so very insignificant — little Pauline, is in the back- 
ground, nursing a small cat, or large kitten, which has one 
eye shut and the other on the sparrows. 

" How very provoking ! " observed Emma, as she looked 
out on the few square yards of grass ; " and such a fine 
day too ! " 

"You are longing, I am sure, to get out for a little air," 
said Anne, with affectionate sympathy. 

"O, no; I have air enough," said Emma. "I was 
thinking how much I should have liked to be at Mrs. De 
Lacy's breakfast. I cannot think why you did not go, 
Gertrude." 

" I preferred sitting with you." 

*' Nonsense ! I have plenty of company without you, 
don't you see *? I should recommend your changing your 
mind, you silly thing. Algernon was not to call for Mama 
till twelve o'clock j so you have still time to go home and 
dress." 

" Dear me ! " exclaimed Pauline, " what a late hour 
Mrs. De Lacy breakfasts at ! " 

"It is not a real breakfast, Pauline," interposed her 
better-informed sister, " but what we should call in France 
a dejeuner a la fourchettey 

"Oh! a sort of luncheon ; I understand. My pretty 
Tom, my pretty Tom-tit " : this was addressed to the cat. 
" Do look at him ; when I speak to him he winks one eye." 

Anne laughed, and Emma cast a glance of pitying 
contempt. "How old is it T' she said, turning to the 
elder of the two sisters. 



FRESH IDEAS. 69 

"Just eight montlis old," said Pauline, before Anne 
had time to answer, " and so wise, though it is still quite 
playful." 

" Perhaps I am to believe that this may be the case with 
its little mistress too, of whom, and not the cat, I was 
speaking," replied Emma, relaxing into a good-humoured 
smile. 

" Now, for shame, Mr. Thomas ! " continued Pauline. 

" Really, Pauline, you will make our new friend think 
you quite a goose. You talk of nothing but the cat," said 
her sister. 

" But he's scratching, Anne. Ah ! he wants to get 
after the birds ; I thought he had some reason " ; and Mr. 
Tommy bounded from Pauline's lap and was off through 
the open window among the dusky sparrows. 

" If Tommy has come to years of discretion, I wonder 
whether you have, Pauline," said Emma. 

" I shall be seventeen next birthday." She was only 
just sixteen, but young things always count from theii- next 
birthday. 

" T should not have thought Pauline was near seventeen," 
observed Gertrude ; " why she is only a year younger than 
I am." 

*' I should think you have gone through ten lives for her 
one," said Emma ; " that is the reason she is so blooming, 
and you so pale. Well, it's all to come in time, Pauline, 
I suppose." 

" What is to come ? " 

" Your wisdom, of course," said Anne, " which Emma 
thinks is later in coming than the cat's. However, Mama 
says she does not mind Pauline being like a child, so long 
as she is not childish — really silly, I mean." 

" And what does Madame d'Hericourt consider to be 
childishness and silliness 1 " asked Emma, with a return of 
the supercilious manner. 



70 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" She tells us we are chiidisli when we are not reason- 
able," said Pauline, who had just found out that her good 
sense was questioned " ; but if it amuses me to play with a 
cat, she says that it is not at all unreasonable, unless I play 
with it when I ought to be doing something else ; and it 
does amuse me very much " ; and little Pauline's young 
face looked as resolute as its exquisite sweetness permitted ; 
and then she came and gave Emma a kiss, for the dear 
child thought she had spoken sharply. 

" After all, I am not sure that the company dawdling 
about Mrs. De Lacy's lawn at Kensington are a bit more 
sensibly employed," observed Gertrude j " London recre- 
ations are really very silly." 

" Do you go out much, Anne % " asked Emma, who had 
not taken up her sister's remark. 

" Not much in London," replied Anne, " because Mama 
is not a good walker." 

"And that makes me so glad when we go to Hericourt 
in the summer," interposed Pauline ; " for then we have 
such nice walks and rides. Oh ! but all the violets will be 
over this year ; I am so sorry." 

"Anne is nearly as bad as dear little Pauline," said 
Emma, who had caressingly detained the engaging child, — 
engaging even to her sophisticated taste, while she thought 
of her as a child. " Don't you know what going out 
.means % " 

" I beg your pardon, I am very stupid, you mean going 
out in society, in the great world. No, we don't go out at all 
in that kind of way. Mama pays and receives very few visits." 

" How very dull for you ! " 

" We don't find it dull ; indeed, to say the truth, I 
generally find paying visits rather dull." 

" That is, my dear, because you see so few people, and 
are so seldom in company that you never get well into the 
thing. But do you always live this sort of life % " 



FRESH IDEAS. 71 

" Mama has, I believe,] always lived a very retired life 
since Papa's death." 

"But why does not she let some one else take you out? 
You are not a couple of widows at any rate." 

" Mama never lets us go anywhere without her," replied 
Anne, colouring a little. 

Gertrude observed the blush, and thinking Emma's 
abruptness had pained her, asked her if their father had 
long been dead. 

" 0, yes," replied Anne ; " I can hardly remember him," 

"Dear me!" resumed Emma ;" then your mother is 
mourning for him a very long time. I should have thought 
she must have recovered his loss before this, and be able to 
give you a little more recreation." 

" Mama is not lamenting Papa's loss at all," replied 
Anne, with perfect simplicity. " She always seems so 
happy when she talks about him. You quite mistook me : 
we have plenty of recreation, I assure you. I only said 
Mama does not go out in the gay world ; and so she does 
not take us ; and we really have no wish ;]indeed, I feel quite 
too shy and stupid in a crowd to be amused." 

" But was no change made when you struck seventeen V 
asked Emma; "did not Madame d'Hericourt bring you 
forward more, and — and so forth ?" Emma scarcely knew 
how to express it, only she had a very decided notion that 
at seventeen education concluded, lessons and books were 
put aside, and amusement and pleasure-hunting began. 

" 0, yes," replied Anne, " Mama did make a change " ; 
I remember on my seventeenth birthday she told me now 
that I was not a child any longer, but becoming a woman, 
I must begin to help her more in household duties. She 
told me I must order dinner, and keep part of the accounts, 
and see to the mending of all the clothes ; that is, I was to 
be responsible for holes ; I must mend them, or see they 
were mended. I was to write some of her letters fur 



72 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

her, too ; and slie almost always took me it" she made a 
chance call of civility, and sent for me if any lady called on 
her." 

Emma burst into a hearty fit of laughter. ^' Well, that 
•was indeed a pleasant coming out ! You have reason to 
congratulate yourself on the gaiety of your first season." 

'' But I don't think Mama fancies we require more gaiety 
and amusement when we reach seventeen," interposed 
Pauline. " She always says children want most amusement 
and old people least ; and so I suppose young people want 
something between the two." 

" Such as promotion to darning stockings," said Emma, 
" on which charming occupation I see Anne is engaged." 

" I rather like darning stockings." 

"And there is nothing," resumed Emma, "which ladies' 
maids dislike so much, I think ; at least. Roper always for- 
gets mine, and Mama likes us to have our stockings darned, 
as she says we can wear them under our boots. She is a dear 
old stingy thing, when the saving is kept out of sight — 
mammy is." 

Here Anne dropped her stocking, opened wide her blue 
eyes, and stared outright ; but Emma did not notice it, 
being engaged at the moment in inspecting her finger nails, 
and ran on. 

" However, you have at least visited, and seen visitors, 
since you were grown up ? " 

"Yes," replied Anne, who had recovered from her 
surprise at the extraordinary language applied to Mrs. 
Wyndham, " Mama thinks it right I should, but of course 
it is not very entertaining. T did not mind much about a 
visitor when I was a child, for I could amuse myself in a 
corner, and do as I liked ; and if Pauline and I were noisy. 
Mama only sent us out of the room. But now it is differ- 
ent : I must take a part, and sit and listen." 

" And bear your share in the conversation," added 



FRESH IDEAS. 73 

Emma. " Of course your mother wishes to draw you out, 
and teach you to talk and be agreeable. It is an art which 
requires practice ; only j ou seem to have but indifferent 
opportunities for cultivating it." 

*• No, I am sure Mama does not wish me to talk much. 
She says young people can have little to say worth hearing 
by strangers ; only if they are kind enough to address me, I 
ought to learn to reply readily and without embarrassment. 
Generally speaking, she says, T must be a listener, not a 
speaker ; and I am never to interrupt or introduce a topic 
myself while I am so young, because that is not modest ; 
but at the same time I must be an intelligent listener, not 
sit merely pretending I am listening, so that I may be ready 
to give a proper answer if spoken to, because it is an im- 
pertinence to let our attention wander while in company. 
"Now you see, so far as my own recreation goes, I would 
often much rather read a book than " 

" Than be an intelligent listener to some dull fogie. I 
should think so." 

" Than to have to listen to the conversation at a formal 
visit," substituted Anne. " But dear Mama says that this 
is good discipline, and courtesy is a duty ; only I do not 
reckon it as part of my recreation." 

*' Indeed I should think not, on such terms." 

" But we Imve plenty of recreation," reiterated Anne. 
" Mama takes care we should, and still more at Hericourt. 
Have we not, PolH" 

" 0, yes j dear Hericourt ! " exclaimed Pauline — " we are 
so happy there ; you have no idea, Emma, what fun we 
have. Last year, on Mama's fete-day — don't you remem- 
ber, Anne ? — we got up an entertainment on the lawn for 
the poor villagers, and we had some pretty new gowns 
made, as a surprise, for all the girls who had won the medal 
for good conduct ; and then Anne and I dressed them, and 
we ourselves put on two of the frocks which we had taken 



74 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

off ; and that amused the girls so much ; and we cooked 
the dinner, and laid the cloth, and waited on them." 

""What! the frocks of some dirty poor children?" said 
Emma, with a face of disgust. *' I think that was doing 
penance rather than keeping holiday." 

"■ They were not dirty," said Anne. " You may be sure 
they had come clean and in their best." 

" Your cooking for them I think was a questionable 
favour, at any rate. What the extempore cooking of two 
young ladies may be I can hardly conceive, but I know it 
would puzzle me to set about that office." 

" Oh, but Anne is a very good cook, and I a tolerable 
one," said Pauline. " I was kitchen-maid under her, you 
know " ; and Pauline laughed, and her eyes danced, at the 
recollection. 

"And pray where did you both acquire this unusual 
accomplishment ? " 

" Is it unusual ? " asked Anne, simply. " Mama was 
very particular that we should both of us know how to 
cook, and make preserves, and all that ; and they declare 
I have a particular vocation for it," she added, smiling. 
" Mama says one cannot give directions to servants to any 
purpose, or superintend things properly, without some little 
knowledge of the sort, and that without this we may often 
complain of things unjustly and at random ; and many other 
good reasons she says there are why we should learn these 
soi-ts of thing." 

" And does Madame d'Hericourt cook too ? " 

" She can, and she does sometimes." 

" Oh, yes ! " interposed Pauline. " I know Mama often 
dresses some dish at Hericourt to take to the poor ; she 
loves waiting on the poor." Here Anne gave her sister a 
look, and Pauline coloured and was silent. 

" Oh, don't stop her ; I like so to hear," said Gertrude, 
with beaming eyes. 



FRESH IDEAS. 75 

" But Mama, I know, does not like our talking about 
what she does," said Anne ; " so I am obliged to keep a 
little check on Poll, who is a chatter-box." 

" 1 am sure it was all very innocent and good," said 
Emma ; " I wish I was half as good. There is one " — 
pointing to Gertrude — " who would make an apt scholar in 
these matters, for which I must own I have no turn ; 
perhaps I am a little fastidious — I inherit it from mammy ; 
but it would quite suit my sister to pay a visit to the 
kitchen. Do you know we have a pious cook, and she is 
something of a director to Gertrude. Now, don't cast such 
an imploring look on me, dear, for I am only laughing, and 
do not mean to vex you. Eut how came Madame 
d'Hericourt," she continued, addressing Anne, " to under- 
stand the culinary art, if it is not indiscreet to ask the 
question 1 " 

" I have heard her say that the nuns taught her at the 
convent where she was educated." 

" Well, I think you might all as well be in a convent, for 
the quiet, sober life you lead. However, as you are happy, 
Anne, I will not pity you. Perhaps people cannot well 
miss what they never had ; and, if you lose pleasures, may- 
be you are spared disai^pointments." Emma paused, and a 
look of care stole for an instant over the blooming- counte- 
nance of youth. " But there is one thing strikes me," she 
resumed. "How are you ever to marry, my dear, if you 
never see any one, and are never seen by any one ? I 
suppose you expect to marry some day, and do not wish to 
remain single all your life long ? " 

" I am sure I don't know what T wish," replied Anne, 
laughing. " Indeed, I never look much into the future." 

" That is all very well, my dear, very well to say ; but 
you will not persuade me it has never crossed your mind to 
say to yourself, 'I wonder whether I shall ever marry?' " 

" No, I cannot say it has never crossed my mind, but I 



76 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

don't trouble myself as to how it will be brought about, if 
I am to marry. What is the use ? I might as well sit 
thinking about what the weather will be next year." 

" Certainly, if you have as little control over the matter ; 
and that is just what I say. I don't see how you are ever 
to get acquainted witK any one, or even choose your own 
friends, if you never go into society. I wish you saw 
Mama's visiting-list; we keep it alphabetically; and, when 
.we go out of town in August, it is quite a job leaving all our 
cards ; indeed, the footman has to take a good number round." 

" Dear me ! and do you know all these people well ] " 

" O, no ; most of them are mere acquaintances ; but we are 
all meeting frequently at balls and parties, and at dinners, or 
the opera ; and then I ride with Algernon in Hyde Park very 
often. Out of such a number of acquaintances one selects 
friends ; some remain only acquaintances, and never could 
grow into more, however long you might know them. For 
others you feel at once a sort of affinity ; it is quite astonish- 
ing how soon you understand each other ; it is a sort of 
Freemasonry." 

*' I don't understand you quite," said Anne, laying down 
her work and looking very earnest, 

*' What I mean is that some persons suit you ; you can- 
not exactly say why, but you know it at once." 

*' How can you ? " 

" Very soon at least. Now, perhaps, for one who does 
suit, there are fifty who do not. Apply this to the subject 
of marriage. How are you likely to marry, or, at least, to 
marry to your liking, if you do not see a variety ? It is 
a mere chance, and a bad chance too." 

" This is quite a new view to me. Mama has not often 
talked to me about marriage; and, when she has, she has only 
dwelt on its duties. But it seems to me that in general society 
I should never get to know people's real characters. Besides, 
1 hardly like the idea ; or perhaps I have misunderstood 



FRESH IDEAS. 77 

you. Just now you talked of going out as being only a 
recreation." 

" Quite what I feel myself," observed Gertrude. ''To go 
out, as it is called, for diversion, but at the same time to 
keep in view the prudential object of an establishment in 
life, is repugnant to my ideas." 

" Now you are unfair, Gertrude" said her sister, colouring 
rather angrily ; "did I say anything of the sort 1 I, at any 
rate, go out with the single purpose of amusing myself, and 
of making friends ; and all I observed was that {/"we remain 
boxed up within four walls, helping cooks and house- 
maids all our days, it is impossible to make friends ; nor 
have w^e a chance of manying. This, I suppose, is rather 
different from instituting a regular hunt, as you would 
insinuate." 

*' I don't think," said Pauline, who had been attentively 
listening to what was to her a rather novel style of conver- 
sation, "that / wish to marry. Mama says so much about 
its being a wife's duty to please her husband. Now I know 
what pleases dear Mama ; so long as we do nothing wrong 
we please her ; but suppose our husbands w^ere comical 
and unreasonable, — some people are, — it would be hard 
work." 

*' I don't think you need distress yourself about these 
matters, Pauline," said Anne, who began to look uneasy, as 
if desirous of changing the conversation. 

" As for me," said Emma, laughing, " I shall consider it 
is my husband's business to please me. I expect to please 
sufficiently by looking pretty and making myself agreeable. 
Dear me ! Pleasing is not such hard work. There is no- 
thing so easy as to please most men, if you go the right way 
about it ; and nothing so difficult if you set to work the 
wrong way. Ninety- nine men out of a hundred will be 
better pleased at their wives appearing to advantage and 
doing honour to their choice, than at all your solidities 



78 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

of character. This gratifies a man's pride ; and remember, 
most men are proud. The other point to be attended to is 
to be cheerful ; don't let him be bothered, and don't bother 
him — this contents his selfish love of ease. Recollect, 
most men are selfish about their ease. You may have fifty 
faults — dear good man, he will forgive them all most charm- 
ingly, so that you look to these two points ; nay, he will be 
the veriest slave of all your caprices." 

" Dear Emma," said Anne, " pray do not talk in that 
way; you cannot be serious." 

" Indeed I am ; I never was more so." 

" But it seems so wrong to try to please one's husband 
through his faults, even supposing you are right about men's 
dispositions. Surely this would be a piece of treachery to 
one so near and dear to you." 

"There is no difference in principle that I can see between 
Pauline's anticipations of carrying out her mother's injunc- 
tions, should she be united to a ' comical and unreasonable 
husband.' How is one to please a comical and unreasonable 
man without humouring his faults 1 Now all / say is, that 
you may save yourself a great deal of trouble by attending 
to those two particulars alone." 

" There is a great difference in principle, I am sure," 
replied Anne, " between what Mama means and what you 
say ; only you are more fluent than I am, and I cannot 
explain myself." 

"And as for the treachery," continued Emma, '' it is a kind 
of treason, I assure you, which men will readily forgive, and 
be quite obliged to you for practising. Dear me ! there is 
nothing so forgiving as a man is to all women, with those 
two exceptions : he cannot stand a disagreeable face, a dis- 
contented voice, or to be made uncomfortable. Dear mammy, 
I see, has always gone on that plan, and does just what she 
pleases ; and Papa knows she does, and thinks there is no- 
thing like her in the world, for all that." 



FRESH IDEAS. 79 

■Anne coloured deeply ; she did not like the conversation. 
Emma had till lately been too feeble to talk much, and too 
much subdued to show herself in her true colours. Anne had 
nursed and attended on her, and Emma had been grateful 
and affectionate in return ; but with Gertrude only had she 
had much conversation. Upon far different topics had they 
interchanged ideas, and Gerti-ude accordingly well knew how- 
little Emma's worldly off-hand talk was likely to please. 

'• My dear Emma," she said, hoping to check her, "do you 
not see you shock Anne 1 She takes all your nonsense lite- 
rally." Poor Gertrude knew that Emma was much more 
in earnest than she would have liked her new friends to 
think. 

" Well, we will change the conversation, if my dear nurse 
does not like it ; but really I thought I was talking very good 
sense, and did not mean to shock any one. By the bye, 
Anne, who is that grave young man whom Gertrude says 
she met here the other evening 1 " Emma had as yet not 
been considered strong enough to join the family circle. 

" Mr. Rochfort, you mean, I suppose V said Anne. " 0, he 
is often here." 

" Indeed ! " said Emma, looking interested ; " and pray 
who is Mr. Rochfort 1 " 

" He is the only child of a dear friend of Mama's who 
is dead." 

" She is very foad of him," said Pauline, " and calls him 
Eustace ; but we don't." 

" Perhaps you will by-and-by, " said Emma, laughing ; 
" Eustace is a pretty name — and an only child, too ! Come, 
I begin to have some hopes, Anne." 

" Of what 1" 

" You simple gii-l, I have a mind not to tell you." 

*' Then pray don't," said Anne, looking rather embarrassed; 
for she began to have a vague fear of her friend's random 
remarks. 



80 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" But do tell us," said Pauline ; " I am curious to 
know." 

" Well, I suspect no I won't." 

*' Suspect what 1 — something about Mr. Kochfort % " 

" It requires no conjuror to guess what I suspect, when 
I hear a young man, only a friend of course, is constantly at 
the house." 

" There is no reason but what I stated," said Anne gravely; 
" my mother's aflfection for her old friend Mrs. Rochfort " 

'' I have no doubt — no doubt whatever ; but it does not 
follow that something may not come of it. Don't pretend 
you do not understand, my dear. It is an arranged affair, 
you may be sure." 

" But I do understand you," said Anne ; " only you are 
mistaken," she added, with a shade of displeasure. 

" I should not like Anne to marry Mr. Rochfort," ob- 
served Pauline, " he is so grave ; I should be afraid of him. 
Do you know he does not like Tommy 1 " 

" O, that is conclusive against him," exclaimed Emma, 
laughing. 

" You had much better go and look for Tommy," said 
Anne, rising, " than join in all this nonsense j and here 
comes Mama, who, I am sure, would agree with me." 

Emma coloured, and instinctively raising her finger to 
her lip, hurriedly said, " Pray do not allude to what I was 
saying of Mr. Pochfort ; I was only joking." 

" You need not fear," replied Anne ; " I should be quite 
ashamed to allude to it." 

Emma had little reverence in her disposition, but Madame 
d'Hericourt excited as much of that feeling as she was 
perhaps capable of experiencing. She stood in awe of her, 
which, consciously or unconsciously, influenced her whole 
bearing w^hile her kind entertainer, to whom she really felt 
grateful, was in her presence. Pei-haps she could not well 



FRESH IDEAS. 81 

have accounted to herself for this unaccustomed feelincf, 
and, if called on to do so, might have referred it partly to 
the tall, majestic figure and composed demeanour of the 
lady, and partly to the remarkable fact that Madame 
d'Hericourt had been proved to be up and dressed at the 
early hour of five ; so that ere the one day had closed to 
Emma the morrow had begun to her. This circumstance 
marked her as so utterly unlike any one with whom the 
self-indulgent young girl had been associated, as to tend to 
remove her from the sphere of familiarity. Be this as ib 
may, her presence, in conjunction with her own illness, had 
hitherto had a sobering effect on Emma, and the result was 
to blind Madame d'Hericourt to her guest's mischievous 
faults. Gertrude was so very diff'erent, and with Gertrude 
alone she was really acquainted ; she gave the sister credit 
accordingly for, at least, being not altogether dissimilar. 
Emma, besides, had been a little frightened about herself. 
Though never in actual danger, she had been seriously ill 
for the first time in her life, and — at Gertrude's suggestion 
it is true — had asked to see a priest, and had made her con- 
fession. All this served to put the careful mother off her 
guard, and she had not only pressed Mrs. "VVyndham to 
allow Emma to remain until perfectly recovered, an act of 
kindness to which charity anyhow would have prompted 
her, bat had allowed her two girls free atid unrestricted 
intercourse with the young stranger. Mrs. Wyndham 
visited her daughter daily, but of course was left alone 
with her ; and during her short personal interviews with 
Madame d'Hericourt, she was too much occupied in anxious 
inquiries respecting her child's progress, and in kind and 
courteous thanks for the care bestowed on her, to betray 
the worldliness of her own character. Leaving Gertrude 
very frequently to spend the evening, she had herself made^ 
a practice of returning home at dinner-time. As Mr. 
"Wyndham, however, expected to be detained in the House 

o 



82 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

to a late hour all that week, on account of some question 
of importance under discussion, Madame d'H^ricourt had 
proposed that Mrs. Wyndham should join the family circle 
every evening, when she hoped also that Emma would be 
strong enough to be of the party. Mrs. AVyndham had 
cordially accepted the invitation, and was expected on the 
morrow of the day on which the conversation first related 
took place, which Madame d'Hericourt cut short by her 
entrance. 

She came to engage her two daughters to leave their 
guest for a few hours' repose. " My dear," she said, ad- 
dressing Emma, "you look a little heated; I fear my 
children have tired you." 

" 0, not at all," replied Emma. " I am really getting 
quite strong, and mean to dress by-and-by " — a glance at 
the white wrapper — " and join you this evening in the 
drawing-room, as a trial of my powers." 

" Then there is all the more reason for quiet now ; so I 
shall carry off your company." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A FIRST INTRODUCTION. 

Emma, as we know, was not altogether wrong in her 
guess that Madame d'Hericourt entertained certain views 
with reference to Eustace Rochfort, but she was entirely 
wrong in supposing that the match was an arranged affair 
in the mind of the mother. Madame d'Hericourt was far too 
fearful of allowing herself to supplant Providence in her 
care for her daughter's interests, or to forestall the will of 
God, to act or decide with any precipitation. Nay, she had 



A FIRST INTRODUCTION. 83 

come to the resolution of speedily removing Anne for a con- 
siderable time from the society of Eustace, who had con- 
fided to her the secret of his own attachment. Madame 
d'Hericourt considered that he was yet very young, and 
that it would be well to test its solidity by a little absence. 
"Well satisfied that, at present, no suspicion of the preference 
entertained for her had ever crossed her daughter's mind, she 
was desirous that none should be awakened. Anne was of a 
reserved nature ; not, however, so much reserved to others as 
leseived to herself. She was not one who dwelt on her own 
character or feelings, although she minutely analyzed her 
motives : but she indulged little in mental speculation, and 
she had spoken truly when she said that she seldom looked 
into the future. Her mother had strougly impressed on her 
the duty of attending to what we are about ; engrafting this 
attention on recollection of the Divine presence. Let one 
eye, she would say, be always on God within you, the other 
on your work, and you will have no time to think of your- 
self or others ; or, if you think of yourself, it will only be t^ 
note, in the clear light within, your faults as they occur ; for 
God does not fail to minister this light to those who live in 
His presence. 

Anne strove to follow this advice continually, and found 
her happiness in it ; and so her days, which now numbered 
eighteen summers, had passed in a tranquil rotation of 
duties performed as pleasures, and pleasures enjoyed in the 
spirit of duties. Although as yet nothing announced a higher 
vocation, still nothing precluded it, and Madame d'Heri- 
court was extremely anxious that Anne's mind should not 
be preoccupied in any way till that point was decided. It 
was her intention, upon her return to France this summer, 
to make a Retreat with her daughter, and she purposed to 
recommend her to seek on that occasion light from God to 
know in what state of life He desired she should serve Him. 
Eustace's declaration had taken her by surprise. He was, 

G 2 



84 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

as has been observed, very young, and sbe had not expected 
that the restricted intercourse she had permitted with one 
of her daughter's quiet and retired demeanour could have 
led to anything further than a certain preliminary acquaint- 
ance with each other's dispositions and tastes. Like other 
mothers before her, Madame d'Hericourt had made a mis- 
calculation in this respect ; at least as regarded the young 
man, upon whom she accordingly imposed a year's silence on 
the subject, during which time he was to consider himself 
perfectly free ; she secretly reserving to herself the power 
of abridging this period of probation if she saw no ne- 
cessity for its prolongation. Willingly would she have 
immediately left London, and thus broken off all intercourse 
for the present ; but some business of importance demanded 
her presence for a few weeks longer ; and in requiring 
Eustace to make his visits less frequent, and enjoining upon 
him a strict caution not to betray his sentiments, she be- 
lieved she had suflaciently provided against all risk of any 
suspicion arising in what she knew to be the simplest and 
most unsuspicious of minds. 

Nothing, therefore, could have possibly been more inop- 
portune than Emma's foolish remarks ; and could Madame 
d'Hericourt have heard a short dialogue which took place 
between Pauline and Anne on the following day, she would 
not have been without her fears that some mischief had al- 
ready been done. Little Pauline, it must be confessed, was 
open to the temptation of curiosity to some small extent ; 
besides, no veil of reserve hid, as it were, from herself, her 
own retlections, as they passed through her innocent, 
childlike mind, which lay all in the light of her own 
vivacious observation ; neither did any corresponding re- 
serve of disposition hinder her from producing them. 

" I wonder really whether Mama means you to marry 
Mr. Roehfort, Anne ?" 

" Means me to marry Mr. Roehfort ! " replied Anne, 



A FIRST INTRODUCTION. S5 

colouring, and looking almost angry, " how can you talk 
such nonsense 1 " 

"Kot nonsense," said Pauline demurely; ''in France 
fathers and mothers arrange their daughters' marriages." 

" Pray where did yoa become so learned on the subject 1 " 

" Madame Auguste told me so." 

" Who is Madame Auguste ? " 

" A dressmaker whom Euima sent for yesterday to give 
directions for a gown — such a pretty one ! Anne." 

"Well, nevermind the gown ; I am puzzled to think how 
you and Madame Auguste can have got so intimate." 

"It was not my doing ; but Eiuma was so free with her, 
and she said, ' You see that pretty little gii'l ' — ' cette jolie 
petite demoiselle' she called me — ' do you know she is half 
French ? ' Upon which Madame began chattering to me and 
paying me compliments. You would have known what to 
say, but I did not ; and so at last, when she heard we were 
going soon to Paris, she said she had no doubt I should soon 
be married." 

" How very impertinent ! and what did you answer 1 " 

" I said I was only sixteen, and did not know anybody 
to marry." 

" That was not a good answer." 

" I dare say not, but I could not think of anything else 
to say." 

" It was not likely to check her," obseiwed Anne. 

" iSo more it did, for, as she was putting up her parcel — 
she was just going away — she turned and said, ' 0, that 
does not matter, my dear young lady. Papas and Mamas 
settle those affairs for their daughters in our France.' Then 
I ran oat of the room, and heard them both laughing." 

" I really shall begin to wish Emma gone," said Anne — 
" no I must not wish that, for it is inhospitable, but I wish 
she was more like Gertrude. She makes me quite uncom- 
fortable." 



B6 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

And uncomfortable poor Anne truly felt, in a manner 
perfectly new to her. Pauline did not feel uncomfortable, 
but a little inquisitive. Perhaps some mischief had been 
done already. 

Here is another scrap of conversation which took place, 
possibly about the same time, in Berkeley Square. 

" Mother," said Algernon Wyndham, as he rose from a 
sofa, threw down a book of which he had been turning 
over the leaves, and passed the disengaged hand through 
his dark wavy locks, " I consider that book a receipt for a 
yawn ; have you nothing livelier for me ? We want Emma 
here very much." 

" I have nothing amusing for you, dear, I am afraid," 
replied his mother, " but I will send to the library. Just put 
down some book ; and if you like to dine here," she con- 
tinued, " you will need it, for you will not even have dull 
me in the evening to keep you company." 

" By heavens ! then, I will do no such thing. I shall go 
to the club. I thought you said you had no dinner engage- 
ments this week." 

*' No more I have, and I shall dine at home ; but I have 
promised to spend the early part of every evening this 
week with Madame d'Hericourt and her daughters. Our 
dear Emma, too, hopes to be strong enough to join us, and 
by next Monday I trust to have her back. Peally those are 
most kind people." 

"And two pretty girls, I hear," added Algernon, after 
a pause. " Don't you think you could smuggle me in, 
mother 1 It would while away an hour or two for me capi- 
tally before the business of the evening begins." 

" Well, I hardly know if I could ask ; I feel to be so 
slightly acquainted with Madame d'Hericourt : she has a 
certain formality about her — no, not exactly that, but a 
certain sedateness, and lives, I understand, so completely 
out of the world." 



A FIRST INTRODUCTION. 87 

" Yet she is half French ; quite French by education, is 
she not 1 and evening is the time for visiting in France." 

" I am sure I do not know what her ways are, or to 
what part of the world they belong, but they seem what I 
should call very savage and secluded. Her two girls are 
sweet creatures ; but Emma says they might have been 
brought up in the woods, as far as ideas are concerned. 
However, I will consult Emma. I am going there just 
now." 

" Do, mother ; I really should like to see these children 
of nature and their severe duenna. We do not see many 
such specimens about, so it quite excites my curiosity. The 
circle will present an amusing contrast to the remainder of 
the evening, at any rate." 

Mrs. Wyndham proceeded without delay on her errand. 
Madame d'Hericourt was not at home, and she communi- 
cated Algernon's wish to Emma. 

Emma looked doubtful. '' I hardly know why, Mama, 
but I fancy Madame d'Hericourt would rather not." 

" Then I am sure I will not ask," rejoined her mother, 
with an angry toss of the head ; " I will not subject myself 
to a refusal. But really I should think my Algernon was 
good enough company for any one." 

" Don't throw away your indignation on me, mamm.y ; 
it is not my fault if Madame d'Hericourt does not like 
strangers. I don't think anything juvenile ever crosses the 
threshold, with the exception, by the bye, of a grave sort of 
youth who has presented his prosaic countenance here 
once or twice of an evening, Gertrude says." 

" If one is admitted, another may be," said Mrs. Wynd- 
ham. " I should be sorry to disappoint Algernon." 

" He will find it dismally dull, I should expect. The 
girls are as mute as mackerel when anybody is by, and I 
should think he would soon have had enough of them 
Mama. However, if he has a fancy to come, I will tell you 



88 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

how we might manage it without the possibility of a refusal. 
Madame d'Hericourt is out at present ; so, if you go home 
at once, Mama, I will just say you could not wait to see 
her, but wished to know whether you might bring your 
son this evening, and that I said I was sure she would not 
object. I will take care not to remember the message till 
too late for her to find an excuse. Algernon is certain not 
to want to come a second time." 

Delighted with this stratagem, Mrs. Wyndham kissed her 
ingenious, if not ingenuous, daughter, reassumed her bon- 
net, and hastily left the house, for fear lest the return of the 
mistress should defeat so admirable a plot. 

Evening is come ; the lamp is on the table in a sub- 
dued state, for it is a pity to stare the remainder of this 
soft early summer's day out of countenance with glaring 
candlelight. Madame d'Hericourt is seated at her work ; 
Gertrude is by her, learning a stitch; Anne and Pauline are 
looking over some prints ; Emma is on the sofa, with no 
particular occupation ; but her mind is occupied : she is 
about to broach the subject of her brother's introduction to 
the family, and she feels a little nervous ; however, she 
can defer it no longer, for the carriage, with the individual 
himself, may arrive any moment ; an effort must be made, 
and she colours as she makes it, though she strives to speak 
with all imaginable ease. 

" By the bye," — what so disingenuous often as those ' by 
the byes ' ! — " By the bye, I ought really to have mentioned it 
sooner, but when Mama was here this morning she meant 
to have asked you if she might bring my brother Algernon 
this evening. He begged to have the pleasure of an intro- 
duction, and hoped you would not consider him an intruder. 
You are so kind, that I ventured to answer for you, but — 

but " she was about to add that she had forgotten 

togive her mother's message, but the downright untruth 
was repugnant to her. 



A FIRST IXTRODUCTION. 89 

The loud, superabundant knock, which the hand of the 
London footman knows so well how to inflict upon a door, 
relieved her from the difficulty of framing not too false 
HQ apology, aud left Madame d'Hericourt no opportunity 
for much reply ; and, indeed, what could she do but 
civilly acquiesce, whatever her priv^ate wishes might have 
been ] 

Mrs. Wyndham is soon rustling into the room in a 
watered silk gown, which would almost have stood of itself 
without the suj)portot" her substantial figure. She is followed 
by her handsome son, upon whom she looks back with a 
mother's fond pride, as she introduces him with an apology 
for taking the liberty of bringing him, Emma having en- 
couraged her, and so forth. Algernon, as we have seen, 
was a thorough man of the world ; but he had an accommo- 
dating amiability, and a peculiar tact, which made him 
know the best manner to ado[)t in whatever company he 
found himself. 

There really was little hypocrisy in this on his part ; for, 
though he had a good deal of talent, he had very little dis- 
tinctive character ; he was also singularly sweet-tempered 
and obliging, and had the strongest dislike to ruflSing, an- 
noying, or shocking any one. If he respected nothing much, 
neither did he despise anything or anybody : " live and let 
live " might be said to be his motto ; but, above all, he had 
much real consideration for women, old as well as young, 
and never failed to make him.-elf respectfully agreeable to 
them, to whatever class they might belong. After his bow 
to the party in general, he at once seated himself by the 
mistress of the house, and for a good half-hour devoted 
himself to her ; not as if from studied politeness, but with 
all the appearance of preference for his situation. He 
allowed Madame d'Hericourt at first to take the initiative as 
to topics, and then followed her lead most agreeably. He 
had an illustrative anecdote or pleasant comment at hand 



90 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

upon almost any subject which might be started, for he 
was an acute superficial observer, and narrated well, giving 
the pith of a story with brevity, humour, and grace. 
Madame d'Hericourt was unaffectedly pleased with him ; 
and Anne and Pauline looked up from their prints occa- 
sionally to listen to the conversation, which was audible to 
them, from the circumstance that Gertrude was silent, and 
that Mrs. Wyndham and Emma were speaking in a 
whisper. 

A knock at the door — no flourish now — but three distinct 
taps of impartial weight and equally impartial distances. 

"Who can that be*?" said Emma. " What a solemn 
knock ! " 

" Not solemn, but indicative of a steady character, I 
should say," observed Algernon. " Knocks are as charac- 
teristic as handwriting." 

"Then all footmen must be alike, and so must all draw- 
ing and dancing masters," said Emma ; " for they each have 
a general style of knock distinguishing them." 

" Those are class knocks," replied Algernon ; '* in such 
case the individual disappears. The footman's knock 
expresses his sense of his mistress's importance ; that of 
the paid instructor simply acknowledges the humility of 
his profession." 

" You are right, Mr. Wyndham, — about a steady charac- 
ter, at any rate," interposed Madame d'Hericourt. " I am 
pretty sure that it is our friend Mr. Rochfort, who some- 
times calls of an evening." 

The opening door confirmed the surmise. Emma turned 
her full flashing eyes towards the new-comer, and then 
fixed them on Anne. Miss Wyndham had little native 
delicacy or tact ; such as she possessed was from a mere 
acquired worldly sense of propriety ; while poor Anne, un- 
tutored in the ways of society, was instinctively sensitive to 
any departure from that true delicacy and politeness which 



A FIRST INTRODUCTION. 9l 

is grounded on charity. She felt the bold, inquisitive glance 
of Emma, and knowing its import, coloured deeply, and 
then coloured another deep blush at the thought of having 
coloured. 

The entrance of an addition to the party had caused a 
slight movement, during which Algernon rose from his 
place, and Madame d'Hericourt introduced Mr. Rochfort to 
her new friends. Eustace was shy, and, though gentleman- 
like and self-possessed in his manners, he, unlike Algernon, 
appeared to least advantage when brought into contact with 
society. To use a common phrase, he retired into his shell 
on such occasions ; and that shell itself, to pursue the image, 
had not the graceful outline or showy colouring which serves 
to prepossess the eve when the dweller within sequestrates 
himself from view. To drop the figure, Eustace was neither 
handsome nor plain, neither vulgar nor distinguished in 
appearance ; his expression of face was, however, sensible 
and intellectual, though it did not indicate intellect of a 
brilliant sort. He had a sound judgment and good temper, 
much self-control, and great simplicity and straightforward- 
ness of character. Add to this, he was of a studious turn, 
and had solid abilities, but he had not a very lively imagin- 
ation. In the gay world he would very probably have been 
called matter-of-fact and dull ; but, as we have the privi- 
lege of viewing him in closer intimacy, we will not allow 
ourselves to s\ibscribe to this harsh opinion. It was the 
judgment, however, which Emma, and probably Algernon, 
formed at a glance. Possibly Mrs. Wyndhani's opinion 
might have been guided or modi6ed by some acquaintance 
with his expectations. A younger son, with his way to 
make in the world, and with an exterior so little striking, 
could hardly have escaped being designated in her colloquial 
style, as a " very dull piece of goods " ; while, on the other 
hand, had she known him to be what Emma would have 
called " his own Papa," she might have arrived at consider- 



92 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

ing him positively " pleasing, with a very sensible and 
agreeable countenance." As she knew nothing about him, 
however, she surveyed him without taking the trouble of 
coming to any conclusion. Reflection was not the lady's 
province ; it involved some trouble, not to be taken without 
an object — a peculiarity which perhaps often saved her from 
a little of her daughter Emma's censoriousness. 

Algernon, as has been observed, had risen, and, as he 
did not resume his place by the mistress of the house, his 
mother, who was always chiefly occupied in catering for her 
son's comfort and satisfaction whenever he was present, 
seized the opportunity to take possession of the vacant seat, 
and so relieve him from any necessity which politeness 
might appear to impose upon him of resuming it ; thus 
setting him free to seek conversation more congenial to his 
taste. JMean while Eustace had profited by the first empty 
chair ; the awkwardness of finding himself unexpectedly 
among strangers, moving him to seek relief in a fixed 
position ; for he did not possess Algernon's talent of touring 
gracefully about a room, addressing scraps of conversation 
to the component parts of the society, and had no ambition 
to cultivate it. The vacant chair happened to be next 
Anne, to whom he naturally addressed a word or two as he 
sat down. But Emma was still mercilessly on the watch, 
and Anne felt all the strong repugnance which a mind 
seldom disturbed experiences on such exceptional occasions 
as succeed in troubling its tranquillity. Again she coloured, 
half from vexation at the knowledge of what was passing 
in Emma's mind, half from annoyance at the wrong con- 
struction which she was aware that unrefined young lady 
was sure to put upon her blushes. Anne hardly recognized 
herself, so ofi' her guard was she thrown ; for her next feel- 
ing was a slight sense of provocation against the unoffending 
Eustace, and a determination that her own manner to him, at 
least, should silence Emma's disagreeable suspicions. Her 



A FIRST INTRODUCilON-. 93 

answer was accordingly rather short and dry, and she scarcely 
looked up from the prints with which she and Pauline were 
occupied, and which she continued to turn over mechanically. 

** 0, don't go so quick, Anne. I want to look at these 
longer," exclaimed her sister. 

^' Those are designs of the subjects on the windows of the 
Maria Hilf at Munich, if I am not mistaken," observed 
Algernon, who, in the course of his tour of the room, had 
come to a casual stand, as it were, behind Anne's 
chair. 

" I hardl}^ know what they are," she replied. " "We are 
looking at them for the first time ; they have been lent ns " 

"And that is the reason I don't like to hurry over them," 
interposed Pauline ; " but there is no name ; the margins 
have been cut off, to paste the prints in." 

"A barbarous proceeding rather, is it not?" rejoined 
Algernon. 

" Very tiresome," said Pauline ; " but stop — hei-e it is in 
pencil on the back : 'Maria Hilf, Munich' "; and little Pauline 
looked up with her eyes wide open at Algernon, as if 
he was a very conjuror — " How did you know V 

" For a very simple reason," replied Algernon, with his 
sweet, confidence-inviting smile, '• because I have seen the 
originals " 

" You have been at Munich, have you 1 " asked Anne 
timidly, for once in her life disposed to talk to a stranger, 
but rather from a desire not to talk to Eustace, than from 
any wish to enter into conversation with Algernon. 

'' I have spent a considerable time there," he rejoined, 
— Algernon Lad tried the diplomatic line, as I have said, 
at his fii-st start in life — " and I often used to stroll out to 
the Maria Hilf, for it is in the suburbs, to admire again 
and again those exquisite painted windows. You have the 
outline here, but you can scarcely appreciate the beauty 
without the rich colouring, which has all the splendour of 



94 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

reality, from being penetrated with glowing light instead 
of merely reflecting it." 

" How beautiful they must be ! " said Anne ; " it is our 
Lady's life. How I should like to see them ! " 

" If you have a taste for painting, you would find much 
to gratify it in Munich." 

" I do not think I have much taste for painting in 
general ; but Mama takes us every year to the National 
Gallery and to the Exhibition." 

*' And from what symptom do you infer your want of 
taste 1 " 

" That I only care for a very few of the paintings." 

"Pardon me," rejoined Algernon, with a slight laugh, 
" perhaps that is rather a proof of good taste ; it is dis- 
criminating, at any rate." 

" Anne only cares for the sacred pictures," said Pauline ; 
" that is the reason ; and she does not always like theTn." 

" Not if they do not come up to her ideal, I imagine. For 
instance, I could almost pronounce beforehand that Mdlle. 
d'Hericourt would prefer the Italian to the Flemish school." 

" Now, how did you know that 1 " asked Pauline. 

"I am getting the reputation of a conjuror rather cheaply, 
it seems. Well, upon this occasion I really cannot explain ; 
only I am sure I am right — am I not, Mdlle. d'Hericourt ?" 

Anne looked up for the first time at him, and smiled 
assent. 

*' I must confess to the same rather exclusive taste," con- 
tinued Algernon ; " and, with all his genius, even Rubens, 
with his robust angels and well-fed saints, is a little repul- 
sive to me sometimes" 

" But I like landscapes too," added Pauline, whose mind 
was not very consecutive. 

" I will continue to make guesses," said Algernon ; " your 
sister thinks she can look at better landscapes with her 
own eyes ; mere imitation has no charm for her. Painting 



A FIRST INTRODUCTION. 95 

must embody something on which her mind's eye inwardly 
rests, and, if it does not come np to the beautiful concep- 
tion, then it is a failure and disgusts." 

Algernon knew how to be complimentary without paying 
a single open compliment ; he knew how to draw persons 
out, and put them in good humour with themselves. Anne, 
indeed, would have turned away from a compliment, but 
the appreciation of her tastes and sympathy with her feel- 
ings which this new acquaintance evinced, were far from 
disagreeable to her ; and withal Algernon had the talent of 
making people feel at their ea>^e with him. 

The conversation continued in this strain, and in a style to 
which she was unused, and which had therefore the additional 
charm of novelty. Eustace had very little light conversa- 
tion at his command ; he would have been well qualified, 
however, to give an opinion on any subject of interest, and 
one better worth having, and to which he had a more genuine 
claim than the gay stranger possibly had to his ; but for 
some unaccountable reason — perhaps the reader will say not 
entirely unaccountable — he had buried his head, and his 
attention apparently, in a book. No one addressed a word 
to him, and he addressed not a word to any one, until 
Madame d'Hericourt spoke to him, when he rose with great 
readiness to join her. A few minutes after, the agi^eeable 
intruder was occupying his place, and, as it may be inferred, 
not reading the abandoned volume. 



96 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

CHAPTEH IX. 

PRUDENCE OUT-MANCEUVRED. 

'' How did yon like the ball last night T' said Mrs. Wynd- 
ham to her son, who had lounged in about luncheon-time. 

*' Bored," was the laconic reply. 

*' I thought it would be dull ; Lady Susan Finch's the 
same night was sure to spoil it. You ought to know lier, 
Algernon." 

" I do know her ; at least I had an invitation, and 
looked in there too ; but it was a dreadful squeeze, and 
I was not in a humour to take any delight in an oven 
heated by human beings, so I went home to bed." 

"Yet a ball is always dull unless it is a little cro%vded," 
replied Mrs. Wyndham. 

" That is one of your English fancies, mother." 

" Well, it may be a fancy, but so it is ; people think a 
thin room dull, and that is sure to make it dull." 

" Exactly so," rejoined her son ; " rooms are, compara- 
tively speaking, small in England, so it is supposed they 
ought to overflow if you are the fashion ; and people think 
much more about whether they are considered fashionable, 
whether they are reckoned this or that, than of the real 
purposes of society." 

" But what are the real purposes of society ? " asked Mrs. 
Wyndham, with some naivete. 

" I suppose to please ears and eyes, and mind, if you 
have one," replied Algernon ; ''but I am sure neither body 
nor mind can be entertained in a stove of human flesh. 
They understand such things much better on the Conti- 
nent." 

" Very likely," said the acquiescent mama, who almost 
always deferred to her son's judgment. 



PRUDENCE OUT-MANGEUVRED. 97 

" Do you know, mother," resumed this arbiter of good 
taste, after a moment's silence, " I saw no one last night 
to compare to your two children of nature. There is a 
piquant simplicity about them both, and the elder is one 
of the prettiest girls I ever saw." 

" Yes, indeed ; and a little more intercourse with society 
would no doubt supply what she lacks, and convert the raw 
material into a finished article." 

The reminiscences of the linendraper's shop seemed to 
linger in Mrs. Wyndham's imagination. 

"Raw material!" ejaculated Algernon, who was in 
rather a sentimental vein this morning. " I don't know 
what you mean by * raw.' I would not have that soft 
bloom brushed ofi" her cheek by a London season for any- 
thing : it would spoil her." 

" But she would gain air and manner, and have some- 
thing more to say for herself; and this would be well worth 
the loss of a shade or two of carmine. See how Emma 
has fined down since she came out. She was too rosy. Such 
bursting health reminds one of a dairy-maid, and looks 
rustic and vulgar." 

*' There is nothing of rusticity, Aailgarity, or dairy-maid 
complexion about Anne d'Hericourt, at any rate," re- 
joined Algernon ; " and, making abstraction of vulgarity, 
in my humble opinion a little superfluous health and 
genuine nature would not be unacceptable occasionally, if it 
were but for the novelty of the thing. However, it was 
not the bloom of the cheek I was speaking of only, but 
the fresh down and bloom of modesty, which your accli- 
mated ladies of fashion either put into their pockets or 
relegate to their bosoms, but certainly do not wear on 
their faces. I saw not one with that same charming 
adjunct at those two human hothouses." 

" What ! not one modest girl 1 Really, Algernon, you 
are too severe." 



98 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" I don't say that. They might all be modest enough 
negatively, — not the reverse of modest, I mean, and that 
would be a large and charitable allowance; but modesty, 
as a positive quality, no young lady who has gone 
through a London season possesses : so say T ; at least, if 
she possesses it, she takes precious good care to keep it out 
of sight." 

" Bashfulness wears off, of course." 

"Bashfulness is the bloom of modesty," replied her 
son. " Mind, I don't mean awkwardness." 

Algernon, as has been observed, had a certain genuine 
respect for women, and a consequent instinctive appre- 
ciation of what was becoming in them ; it was one of the 
best points about him — this uncorrupted taste. 

" If you mean," he continued, after a moment's pause 
on either side, "that I am not amused with your off- 
hand girls, who have disposed of their superfluous bashful- 
ness, and do not find them very pleasant company for 
an idle hour, you are mistaken ; of coui-se, I do ; every 
thing in its place — Anne d'Hericourt, in her quiet circle, 
with her simple demi-toilette, interesting herself about 
madonnas, and interesting me very much about her 
sweet self; and Emma and her like, in the ball-room, 
garlanded with roses, and whirling in the dance like so 
many mad Bacchantes ; only if I am to fall in love and 
choose a wife, it would not be a Bacchante." 

<' But w^ould be Anne d'Hericourt," added Mrs. 
Wyndham, looking up with some astonishment, and a little 
inquiry in her physiognomy. 

" Come, mother, you go so fast. It is not quite so 
serious yet." 

''Yet!" 

" Yet," echoed Algernon. " I will not answer for my- 
self if I see much more of that ' maiden with the down- 
ward eyelids pure.' " 



PRUDENCE OUT-MANCEUVREIX 9^ 

Mrs. Wyndham was silent a moment, and then resumed.. 
" Well, Algernon, I don't think I will refuse my con-- 
sent : there is no brother ; they must have tolerable 
fortunes, and are of good family ; and they are well-brought- 
up girls, as you say." This seemed to come as an after- 
thought. 

"Always the same, mother; true to the practical view,"" 
said Algernon, laughing, as he rose. '* Now I am off to call 
on INIadame d'Hericourt, and angle for an invitation. Do. 
you think I shall succeed 1 " 

" You ought to have no difficulty. But I suspect that 
prudent mother, — for she is prudent, notwithstanding all 
her piety — has other views, and will be afraid of you. 
Emma told me last night in a whisper that Mr. Roch- 
fort was an only son, and that he is constantly there ; and 
she is quite sure it is to be a match ; that is, that the 
mothei' intends it." 

" What ! that dull book-worm of a chap ? I am not 
much afraid of him. She did not look at him." 

" But he did look at you, once, — I observed him, — and then 
never took his eyes off his book. After what Emma told 
me I set him down as jealous ; and, if I am not much mis- 
taken, Madame d'Hericourt noticed his discontent. Depend 
on it, she will not ask you." 

" We shall see," replied her son, with the confident smile 
of one who seldem fails. 

Aiid he seldom did fail in similar undertakings ; neither 
was this occasion an exception. ]\radame d'Hericourt had 
really liked the young man upon the superficial acquain- 
tance of one evening ; but, true to her system of avoid- 
ing all intimacy when not sure of the character of the 
person with whom she was casually associated, it was 
from no forgetfulness, as Algernon perhaps imagined, that 
she had not expressed any wish for a re[)etition of the visit ^ 
neither would that prepossessing individual have attained 

H 2 



100 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

Ms object by his morning call, had he not been gifted with 
consummate assurance, which he knew how to use without 
betraying it. 

The reader may perhaps be curious to learn how the 
cautious mother was circumvented. It was very simply 
done. After a moderately lengthened visit, which was 
passed tete-a-tete with Madame d'Hericourt, and during 
which Algernon made himself very agreeable, taking care 
to say nothing which could be construed into a hint for a 
fresh invitation, such as any expression of having spent a 
pleasant evening, or the like — well aware that, if that device 
failed, he would have precluded himself, according to all the 
rules of good taste, from his last resource — he rose to go, 
and drew the resei'ved arrow from his quiver. 

Putting on one of his sweetest and most natural of smiles 
as he pressed the proffered hand at parting, " "Will you 
think me very impudent," he said, " if I ask you, Madame 
d'Hericourt, to take compassion on my solitude, particu- 
larly as you are the cause of it, by carrying off my constant 
companion, my ' mama,' and allow me to join your family 
party again?" 

Who could refuse a direct appeal for hospitality ? It 
might be impudent enough, but the petitioner did not look 
impudent, neither did Madame d'Hericourt so interpret 
the request, though, truth to say, it was with some inward 
reluctance she replied in the affirmative. Courtesy, however, 
forbade its manifestation, and there was something about 
Algernon's manner so unaffected, and withal so winning, 
that she could not, if she would, have received his request 
with any chilliness of demeanour. Her visitor seized the 
happy moment, and, thanking her cordially for having re- 
lieved him from bis forlorn situation, in terms which showed 
that he had been pleased to construe the invitation as general 
for the remainder of the week, he departed, leaving Madame 
d'Hericourt a little bewildered and annoyed at having been 



PRUDENCE OUT-MANCEUTRED. TOl 

surprised into an act diametrically opposed to her principles 
and practice. 

And so Algernon Wyndham came every evening with 
his mother, and every evening deepened the impression 
which Anne had made at lirst sight. He was cautious 
however, not to show it openly. He talked to Pauline 
fully as much, perhaps more than to her sister ; he could 
have his little jokes with "the child," as he pla>yfully 
affected to call her ; he petted Tommy, and even Tommy, 
known to be fastidious, liked him, and condescended to sit 
on his knee. The young man placed himself at once, 
whether Madame d'Hericourt would or not, in the position 
of a friend of the family, but was scrupulous to repay her 
for the imposition of himself in that capacity, by bestow- 
ing upon her individually a large proportion of his pleasant, 
cheerful, and varied conversation. To Anne he spoke least, 
but he knew the art of conveying the persuasion of being 
liked to the person addressed, while veiling it from those 
around. There was a gentle reverence and sweetness in 
his manner to her, a deference, a hanging upon her reply, 
an unfailing notice and appreciation of it, which told its 
own tale. Eustace never came again that week, and Anne 
did not miss him. 

Saturday evening arrived at last, and, with it, a leave- 
taking on the part of Mrs. Wyndham and her fascinating 
son, himself now fascinated more than he almost cared 
to own. On Monday Emma was restored to the paternal 
mansion. The day was closing in, and the lamps in the 
street were beginning to twinkle, when Pauline, who was 
gazing out of the window, with a little, just a little, of 
the unstrung feeling about her merry heart which a lull 
after some unusual excitement is apt to produce, remarked, 
— " We shall seem quite alone this evening." 

To which Anne, who was profiting by the lingering light 
to finish some book upon which she was engaged, and was 



102 The wyxdham family. 

leaning in the embrasure of the same window, replied, 
" We shall be alone." 

" Dear Annie, I know that ; but I mean we shall seem 
so very quiet, so very few." 

" I do not think we shall be quite alone, though, 
Pauline," interposed her mother. " I saw Eustace this 
morning, and he talked of coming." 

" Oh ! Mr. Rochfort ! " said Pauline, with a sort of dis- 
contented sigh, " he is all very well in his way, of course ; 
bat he is not near so amusing as Mr. Wyndham ; indeed, 
he is not at all amusing. I like Mr. Wyndham so much 
better. Don't you, Annie ? " 

Anne looked up from her book, and the colour rose to 
her cheek. " Like him better, Pauline 1 I cannot very 
well compare the two." 

The reply was ambiguous, but Madame d'Hericourt 
took it up in a sense which possibly was not its precise 
meaning. 

'' Pauline, your sister says very truly. How can you 
compare an acquaintance of a few days' standing with a 
comparatively old friend ? Besides, I am sorry to hear you 
make any one's amusing powers the measure of your liking." 

"But it is not that only. Mama," said Pauline, red- 
dening. " I don't know why, but T do like him best. 
Anne, don't you remember Emma sayicg there are some 
persons that you know in a minute you shall like? I 
think she called it freemasonry." 

" My dear child," said Madame d'Hericourt, " such 
conversation is very nonsensical and foolish. Every one 
knows that some people are more pleasing to our taste 
than othei*s, particularly at first sight ; but to say we 
like them better before we can possibly judge of their 
worth is rash and silly. Besides, the less we compare the 
better. Your sister made you a very good answer." 

But Anne was remarkably true ; she was pained at being 



AN rXWELCOilE ANNOUNCEMENT. 103 

supposed to have meant what in reality she did not mean ; 
for her reply had been rather designed as an evasion than 
intended for a moral observation. " I don't think, Mama," 
she said, " that T meant anything so good or sensible as you. 
fancy. Mr. Wyndham and Mr. Rochfort are very unlike 
and . . . and, as Pauline says, Mr. Wyndham is more 
pleasing ; but, of course, we know Mr. Rochfort's worth 
and esteem him greatly ; aud we know little about the 
other, though I am sure he is good and amiable too, for his 
sisters are very fond of him." Anne's heart beat as she 
spoke and her voice revealed a little emotion. 

"Well, my dear, we had best drop the conversation at 
present, for I hear Mr. Rochfort on the stairs." 

The conversation was not resumed, but it left Madame 
d'Hericourt with a slight fear that Pauline had not profited 
by her short association with the gay votary of the world, 
and the imcomfortable suspicion that Anne did like Alger- 
non Wyndham better than Eustace Pochfort. But how 
much? 



CHAPTER X. 

AN UNWELCOME ANNOUNCEMENT. 

" Who is your correspondent, Mama ? " asked Emma of her 
mother at the breakfast- table one morning soon after her 
return. 

Mrs. Wyndham made no immediate reply, but, after 
glancing at the signature and the date in an uneasy sort of 
way, she recommeDced reading her letter, muttered somethiug 



104 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

inaudible, shuffled the paper about in her hand, as if puzzled 
and embarrassed, and was finally about to transfer it to her 
pocket. 

"But you don't tell me, Mama, whom your letter is from," 
reiterated Emma impatiently ; " and you do not seem to 
like its contents." 

Mrs. Wyndham opened her letter again, and, giving the 
pages another cursory survey, said, half to herself, half to 
Emma, in that species of resolute voice which betokens 
latent irresolution, " No, I really cannot, it would not do at 
all ; how very annoying ! " 

" What is annoying, Mama 1 You are so tiresome ; T am 
dying of curiosity." 

" Your uncle John is coming over." 

" And has written to say so 1 " 

"And has written to say so," repeated Mrs. "Wyndham 
in an absent voice, still conning the unwelcome letter. 

" What is that to us. Mama ? I suppose he is not coming 
here." 

" But he wants to come here ; that is the very thing he 
writes about." 

*' For a day, I suppose ; on his way into Warwickshire 1 
Well, it is a bore, but we must say ' not at home ' to our 
visitors while he is with us, and keep him out of sight as 
well as we can." 

" He wants to be in town for a fortnight, child ; don't 
talk nonsense," replied Mrs. Wyndham, rendered cross by 
her embarrassment ; " it is about business, and two front 
teeth ■ he wants to get, and says if we have not room for 
him, or if he is likely to be an inconvenience, he will go to 
an hotel." 

" For a fortnight ! " exclaimed Emma, with a face of 
blank dismay. 

" Lord love him ! " ejaculated John Sanders's sister, 
whose ingrained vulgarity was not always quite effaced by 



AN UNWELCOME ANNOUNCEMENT. 105 

the fashionable polish which had been superinduced ; " if 
he would not be worse than an inconvenience ! " 

" I do not remember ever seeing Uncle John," said Ger- 
trude. " Is he so very disagreeable 1 " 

" But I do," said Emma. " He had a broad face, called 
me, I remember, a ' little lass ' ; for I know I made believe 
that I thought he said a ' little ass/ and he left out his 
h's, — I recollect observing that very well." 

Mrs. Wyndham sighed at the mention of the h's. " No, 
it would never do," she repeated ; " I am sure I could not 
stand it. He cannot come ; and really I do not know where 
we could put him." 

There is the dressing-room on the ground-floor," suggested 
Gertinide ; " and I am sure Papa would not mind using 
the slip up-stairs for so short a time." 

•' My dear Gertrude," said Emma^ " don't you see that 
Mama wants to make it difficult to house Uncle John, and 
you are trying to make it easy 1 " 

" There is no occasion to mention the dressing-room to 
him, of course," said Mrs. Wyndham hesitatiug ; "we have 
no regular spare room." 

"But even if he goes to an hotel, he will expect to be 
asked, and be in and out, I fear ; and that will be nearly 
as bad," said Emma. 

"No, he would not," replied Mrs. Wyndham ; "you do not 
know my brother John ; he is very independent, and per- 
haps will suspect we don't care to have him, or we would 
stretch a point. That would make me prefer to find some 
other excuse ; if we could have been going out of town 
for a few days " 

" Oh, Mama, in the very thick of the season ! and then 
we cannot — there's our party next week." 

" He does not talk of coming for another ten days ; and 
I do not think we have many invitations for the week 
which follows." 



106 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

" But we have one or two I should be very sorry to 
miss," said Emma; "and if you cannot keep the thing 
up it is worth nothing ; " and Emma looked quite pettish. 

*' Oh, I forgot, too, your father wishes to give a din- 
ner at the end of next week, and has already asked Sir 
Philip Eagle, and several of that set. "We could not go 
before Monday week. I fear John would have arrived 
sooner. Dear me ! what shall T do ? So very unsuitable ! " 

"What is bringing him over?" rejoined Emma. "I 
thought he was settled in Sicily, making and selling wines 
for the rest of his natural life." 

" Will it not seem very unkind to refuse him, or get out 
of the way ] " asked Gertrude. 

" He is giving up part of his business," said Mrs. Wynd- 
ham, not noticing her younger daughter's remark ; " from 
something he says," — and she referred to the document — 
" I conclude he has secured a competence now. But stay : 
he says something about Teresa being out of health, and 
left behind. That is his daughter ; oh, yes, ' my only cbild.' " 

"Better read it through straight, Mama, and then we 
shall know all about it. Perhaps he is a rich man now, and 
has forsworn economy, including that of his h's." 

Mrs. Wyndham shook her head : " John may have 
grown rich, but he will never take any polish. John 
Sanders is John Sanders still, you may depend upon 
it. He had a good heart, I must say, but was always 
as obstinate as a pig, and looked like a grazier ; and, 
what was worse, he prided himself on it ; so there were no 
hopes of his mending. He had a sort of notion of town 
ways not suiting him, and honest simplicity being the thing 
for him." 

" But he might drop his vulgarity without playing the 
fine gentleman," said Emma ; " but come, Mama, the 
letter." 

" ' My dear sister, we have not met for a great many years 



AX UNWELCOME AXXOUXCEMEXT. 107 

now ; and, as I never hear from you or of you except 
when your husband writes about the Marsala, all I know 
for certain, or, at least, conclude, is that you were alive last 
February : so 1 hope you are so still, and hearty and well 
into the bargain, which I am not jvist now — thank God for 
all His mercies ' " 

" How very comically that comes in, Mama ! " said 
Emma. 

" Don't interrupt me ; that belongs to the next sentence, 
I suppose ; do let me go on with the letter. ' I am 
engaged in winding up my foreign business, as I have 
enough to live on now, and my only child, if she lives, dear 
soul, wishes to go into religion ; and what is enough for me 
is enough for her, anyhow. Teresa is very delicate, and I 
often fear she has the seeds of her dear departed mother's 
complaint. God's will be done. So I leave her with her 
aunts, and come over solo. My business will keep me in 
town for a fortnight ; besides, my teeth are in very rum 
order, — two of my front rank gone, which I find so uncom- 
fortable that I must get the gap tilled up. If you and 
your husband can receive me without putting yourselves 
out of the way, I shall be glad to put up at your hotel 
in preference to any other. Till I know your pleasure 
I would not arrange otherwise, as, after so long absence, 
you might think me unkind if I did not make the 
offer.'" 

"The offer ! Keally one would think he did it to oblige 
us," interposed Emma. 

" Poor John 1 " said Mrs. "Wyndham, in rather a relent- 
ing voice ; " it is Jiis way of expressing himself : ' if I did 
not make the offer. But do jusfc as you like, and don't 
let me interfere with any of your gay doings ; a bed in an 
attic, if you will, and my knife and fork, is all I want, 
and a welcome. The last is indispensable, so don't say "Yes" 
if you would rather say "No." My love to Wyndham and 



108 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

the girls. Direct to me, " Hotel Meurice," at Paris. Your 
affectionate brother, — John Sanders.' " 

"It is a vulgar production, Mama." 

" Really, Emma, you are very critical. What is there 
so vulgar, after all ? " said Gertrude. 

" He is vulgar ; there is no mincing the matter," replied 
Mrs. Wyndham, laying down the letter, and musing ; " but 

then but then, he is my brother ; " and she seemed to 

have fallen on some train of thought. The charitable reader 
may suppose that memory had wandered back to former 
days, when the whole Sanders family, herself included, 
jostled on together, in happy ignorance of London polish, 
or the arbitrary laws which regulate the enunciation of 
aspirates ; while the suspicious reader may opine that her 
cogitations rather concerned the future, and that it had 
just struck her that a well-to-do uncle in indifferent health, 
with a consumptive daughter, was not to be lightly 
offended. 

" Indeed, Mama, T quite think as you do," said Gertrude ; 
" and it would seem very unkind to refuse him." 

" Do hold your tongue, Gertrude," said Emma impa- 
tiently ; " I think Mama is the best judge in such a case." 

" Of course I am," said Mrs. Wyndham, jumping at the 
admission, for she had inwardly arrived at a conclusion; 
" and the more I consider this letter, the more convinced I 
am that, unless we could have made some decent excuse 
to be out of town, I must accept." 

" Oh dear, Mama ! " exclaimed Emma, with a look of con- 
sternation at the unexpected resolve. 

"What can I do?" replied her mother ; "you objected 
yourself, Emma, to going out of town ; I have no alterna- 
tive, you see." 

Emma saw that she had deprived herself of a right to 
grumble ; but she had her reasons for being reluctant to 
leave London, which weighed more powerfully with her 



AN UNWELCOME ANNOUNCEMENT. 109 

even than the bugbear of Uncle John's vulgarity, so that 
she was not disposed to retract her opposition to a move at 
this j uncture. 

" We must make the best of it," continued Mrs. "Wynd- 
ham, *' and only hope he will not arrive before Saturday 
week. I should die of him with that supercilious Sir Philip 
Eagle sitting by." 

" You had better mention the dinner party, and suggest 
his coming the next day or Monday." 

" No, Emma ; he would think at once that I did not 
want him. Best say nothing. If we do it, let us do it 
handsomely ; " and so Mrs. Wyndham swallowed her last 
mouthful of an uncomfortable breakfast, and hurried off to 
speak to her husband, who had not emerged from his 
dressing-room . 

" Oh, by all means, my dear ; of course, write, and say 
he is most welcome," replied Mr. Wyndham, who was at 
that moment sitting in a buff dressing-gown, in all the 
undignified predicament of a chin in a lather of soap, and 
engaged in the critical act of shaving his upper lip. 

" You see, I cannot well help it," replied his wife apolo- 
getically ; " and really it might be injudicious to decline 
him ; he is well off, and if this poor thing died, — of course, 
I trust she may be spared to him, but still one must think 
of one's own, — who knows ] in that case, perhaps he might 
make our Algernon his heir. Who so suitable of all his 
nephews and nieces 1 " 

"Algernon will get little enough from me," replied the 
papa, who was conscious of the encumbrance of a good deal 
of debt on a moderate fortune ; " and he is an idle fellow : 
so if he is ever to be a rich man, it must be by tumbling 
into a property in some such way. However, no matter 
about that. John Sanders is an honest, good fellow, and 
heartily welcome." 

Mr. Wyndham had apparently forgotten his deficiencies. 



110 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

or -was not so susceptible on such points as his wife and 
daughters ; not that he was by any means indifferent to the 
world's opinion, but his self-love was more interested in the 
appointments of his table, and the whole turn-out of his 
establishment, than in the personal polish or fashion of his 
connections. " But where will you put him, Beatrice 1 " he 
said. 

Oh, that is another thing. Y"ou know we have no regular 
spare room; the attic is wanted, and indeed is full of boxes ; 
^nd I never put a man up there. There is nothing for it 
but to let him have this room, and for you to use the slip ; 
so I thought at first it would never do." 

*' Well, let that be ; I don't mind using the slij) at this 
time of year, when it is warm and I don't want a fire. 
When did he say that he comes ? " 

*'Not for ten days certainly — I hojye after the dinner 
party. He would be quite out of place. My brother, as you 
know, is . . . very" . . . Mrs. Wyndham would have 
added " vulgar," but some sense of personal solidarity with 
the stock from which she came restrained her in her hus- 
band's presence, and she substituted the word " homely." 
" Sir Philip Eagle would wonder whom in the world we 
had asked to meet him." 

" Sir Philip will not care a straw who sits at the table, 
so long as there is something good to the taste, and in good 
taste upon it," replied Mr. Wyndham. " And now I think 
of it, my love," he added in a deprecating tone, as he care- 
fully wiped his razor, "■ do see about the dinner. I should 
be quite ashamed if Tyrell sent us up, for instance, a dish 
of gigantic patties, like those she favoured us with the other 
day. I can fancy Eagle fixing his glass in his eye, and his 
eye on the patties, and asking whether they were poik pies ; 
he thought he remembered seeing some such dish in the 
steward's room at his grandfather's when he was a boy." 

" It was not Tyrell," replied his wife, " who made those 



AN UNWELCOME ANNOUNCEMENT. Ill 

patties. As we were quite alone, she had asked to go out. 
I fancy she wanted to go to church. Mary was the per- 
former," 

*' And a very bad one. If Tyrell cannot teach her 
to do better, the girl must go. But I don't think Tyrell 
herself is any great hand." 

" She is not a bad cook, — I should say." 

"Well — not that exactly. What she does eats better 
than it looks. It is air and lightness that are wanting ; 
the eye ought to be pleased as well as the palate. Did you 
notice the dinner at Eagle's the other day ? " 

" Yes, and I should have said there was too little ; 
it was so very unsubstantial, and particularly the second 
course." 

" Now that is just your mistake, my love. You know 
how much I think of yonr taste, but you really are wrong 
about that. Heavy profusion is not the fashion now. 
Dinners have come to be so late that they approach more 
to the character of suppers. People eat solid luncheons, 
and the evening appetite is not so gross ; it should be 
humoured, tickled, and tempted. The delicate concluding 
meal ought to present an agreeable variety, not a bewilder- 
ing one, but a select variety of light and tasteful dishes.. 
We seek for a relish at that hour rather than sheer 
nourishment. But any how, quantity never makes up to 
the taste for deficient quality. Eagle told me that when he 
and Graham were cruising in the Mediterranean^ in that 
beautiful yacht of his, the ' Plover,' his French cook never 
sent them up more than two dishes ; but he could trust 
his inexhaustible talent — two dishes, but then, to use his 
expression, they were dishes which might have been set 
before the Olympian gods." 

" Well, we must do our best. We cannot rival Sir 
Philip's exquisite French cookery, of course ; but if we fail 
to delight him," answered Mrs. Wyndham, who never tried 



112 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

her husband's temper by an argument, " we must hope at 
least not to disgust him, and disarm criticism, at any rate." 
" Just so, my dear ; that is quite what I mean." 
Yes, Mrs. Wyndham knew what he meant; but she 
knew, too, that even if Tyrell could have realized the beau 
ideal in Mr. Wyndham's mind, a recherche dinner is far 
more costly than a simply plentiful one ; but what could 
she say 1 If her husband tolerated her evening party, in 
which he took no pleasure, she could not reasonably object 
to his dinners on the score of expense. And so she with- 
drew to make her morning meditation on two points : — 
1st. How to dress a dinner, with the help of a cook at 
16 guineas wages, and a kitchen-maid at £10, which 
should content an epicure who gave £50 — some said £100 
— to the principal in his kitchen, and wages in due pro- 
portion to the assistant. 2nd point. If this was impossible, 
how to reconcile the calling in of some more accomplished 
hand on the occasion, and the outlay which this would 
involve, with the imperative claims of economy. At this 
edifying occupation, and without at present inquiring with 
what resolution the whole process terminated, we will leave 
the not very happy mistress of the family, and will descend 
to take a peep at the lower regions. 



CHAPTER XI. 

CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. 

Since our last visit to the kitchen, which it is to be hoped 
the reader has not quite forgotten, there has been a fresh 
domestic arrangement. It was consequent upon Mrs. 
Koper's decided declaration that she could not without 



CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. 113 

assistance continue acting as lady's maid to both Mrs. 
Wyndham and her daughters, a post which involved, not 
attendance only, but much dress-making. Either the ball- 
dresses must all be given out to be made, or she must be 
accommodated with an additional pair of hands. Now that 
Miss Gertrude had come out also, it really was more than 
she could do with either satisfaction to her employers or 
regard to her own health. Mrs. Wyndham had been much 
perplexed by this declaration of her mistress of the robes. 
On the one hand she had a vision of fashionable dress- 
makers' bills, on the other the prospect of the expense of 
another mouth added to the household, not to speak of 
twelve or fourteen pounds a year more in wages. Roper 
was too clever a servant to be parted with readily ; besides, 
it was not very clear but that a substitute might not make 
the same stipulations, which, after all, were not unreasonable, 
but which Mrs. Wyndham regarded more from the point 
of view of their inconvenience than of their justice, and 
was ill-humoured accordingly for a whole morning, until an 
expedient suggested itself, or, rather, was suggested by 
Emma, jumped at by Mrs. Wyndham, and acquiesced in by 
Roper. 

Rachel, the housemaid, did not like her place ; she had 
taken it into her silly head that she was born for something 
better. That same silly head was perched upon a long 
white neck, of which she was very proud, and was adorned 
with a very thick crop of yellowish hair, golden or auburn, 
of course, to the possessor. Upon the top, or, rather, the 
back, of this burnished wig figured generally a circular 
piece of net, with its lace border, about the size of a small 
saucer ; an appendage which, it appears, is still dignified with 
the name of a cap. Oh ! changed are the days since house- 
maids cleaned grates with caps on their heads which pos- 
sessed an honest title to the name, caps which covered their 
ears, and with their hair in old newspaper papillotes, to 

I 



114 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

keep the dust and ashes out of it. The wonder then was 
when the hair burst the bud and came forth to view j now 
the wonder may rather be when time is found to clean out 
the sweepings of the floor and hearth. Rachel was not 
pretty, but she thought or hoped she was; and who so 
vain as those who are in a fever of hopes and fears on the 
subject 1 Anyhow she was convinced that she was of a very 
genteel appearance, an appearance preposterously unsuitable 
to her calling, and pointing to a higher vocation. Add to 
this, great facility with her needle, and a back which ached 
with carrying up coals and hot- water cans to the sublime 
regions of a London house, and we need not wonder that 
Kachel desired to exchange the broom for the needle. For 
some time past she had been ingratiating herself with Mrs. 
Roper by peculiar attention to her little wants, and by 
occasionally helping her with a press of work ; borrowing 
for this purpose an hour from sleep at the night end, for 
which she made up, it is true, at the morning beginning, 
and getting over her housemaid's work in a hurried, 
slovenly way. But the household rose late, with the excep- 
tion of Tyrell, and, thanks to Tyrell, the reluctant Mary j 
so all got on pretty well, and not much complaint was 
made. 

Another piece of diplomacy of the aspiring housemaid, 
who was possessed of that low worldly prudence which 
often accompanies a scanty proportion of higher gifts, was 
to pay her court to Miss Wyndham, whose predominant 
influence she was sharp enough to perceive ; but this was 
a delicate task : Emma was haughty, and not apt to conde- 
scend to her inferiors ; indeed, with the exception of Roper, 
who had lived a good many years in the family, and whose 
post gave her an advantage not enjoyed by others, she 
seldom addressed any of the servants, except to signify her 
desires. To her they seemed to be so many animated things 
rather than persons, and there was something in her very 



CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. 115 

looks and manner wliich betrayed her want of sympathy 
with them as a class, and discouraged any approach. But 
every faulty person who exercises no self-restraint, par- 
ticularly if not possessing very strong common sense, is 
accessible in some way, and can be flattered, cajoled, led, or 
driven, as the case may be, so that only the proper method 
be pursued. Kachel probably was not competent to make 
this reflection, but she instinctively acted on it. Emma 
was very vain, and her vanity was of a greedy character ; 
no one's admiration came amiss, and, in spite of her haughti- 
ness, scarcely any one could be so insignificant but that his 
or her dispraise would have been ofiensive. The wily 
Rachel, not daring to offer flattery direct, which might 
have been unacceptable to one so " high " as Miss Wynd- 
ham, made Roper the confidante of her extravagant 
admiration, in the hopes that it might find its way to the 
proper quarter. Roper, as we have seen, was a privileged 
person ; she was too necessary to Emma, and ministered 
too closely to her personal embellishment, to fall under the 
general law ; nay, the barrier once broken down, Emma, 
who, notwithstanding, a selfish and overweening opinion 
of her own claims on the respect and homage of inferiors, 
was arrogant rather than proud (in the more refined sense 
of the term), allowed and even encouraged familiarity where 
a little more reserve would have been becoming. To 
Roper she talked much, and she talked of herself; she 
betrayed herself; she was confidential on personal topics. 
It is pleasant, perhaps, to be able to be completely off 
one's guard with one person, and yet forfeit apparently 
neither commendation nor a certain respect. For the good 
word and the admiring eye of her equals she had, if not to 
toil, at least to lay herself out and practise some restraint ; 
but their respective positions rendered it unnecessary to 
make any such expenditure of trouble in the case of her 
attendant, who, truth to say, thought Miss Emma, with all 

I 2 



116 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

her faults, a very fine young lady, and really preferred her 
to her milder sister, who, if she gave less trouble, was too 
indifferent about her clothes, and too uninterested about 
common things, to please the talkative lady's maid. 

No one, it is said, is a hero to his valet-de-chambre : per- 
haps this is not altogether and unreservedly true ; for it is 
remarkable how much value and admiration personal atten- 
dants will often entertain for masters and mistresses who 
daily and hourly, one would have thought, made themselves 
obnoxious to their censure, and let themselves down in 
their eyes by their gross imperfections. One condition alone 
appears to be necessary, that the servant should have reason 
to believe himself or herself of some esteem in the eyes of 
the employer ; into the philosophy of which fact I will not 
trouble my readers by inquiring. Suffice it to say, that 
Roper could venture to compliment and retail compliments ; 
and Rachel's " Law ! how handsome Miss Wyndham did look 
in her pink silk last night ; she looked like a queen every 
inch of her, and I said so to James," and so forth, found 
its way to the young lady's ear, and, though carelessly 
laughed at, was not altogether despised. Yanity can graze 
on coarse food as well as relish a dainty. Then Rachel 
looked very scrupulously after Miss Wyndham's little per- 
sonal wants, and they were many. It takes a great deal 
to make some people comfortable, or think they are so, — 
people, I mean, who can command comforts ; it is curious 
how numerous these can be made, and how painfully the 
absence of any one item is felt, more perhaps because it is 
considered indispensable than from any real suffering in- 
volved ; for, as it has been truly remarked, " Our feelings 
are far more guided by the judgments we form than we are 
ourselves aware." 

These preliminary measures paved the way for Rachel's 
promotion, when Mrs. Roper's smouldering discontent led 
to the declaration just mentioned. Emma suggested that 



CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. 117 

the girl should dress and wait upon her and Gerti-ude, and 
help Koper with her needle. There was but one difficulty : 
who was to do Rachel's work ] The scrubbing portion must 
be thrown, of course, on some one else. The hands which 
were to wait on ladies and finger their finery must not be- 
grime themselves with cleaning grates ; besides, the want 
of time was an insurmountable objection. 

" I am sure that lazy Mary has very little to do, Mama," 
said Emma. " I suspect Tyrell does almost all the cooking ; 
at least what she does not do she has to look after, which 
gives her quite as much trouble. Mary can wash the things 
up, and help a bit, and yet have plenty of time to manage 
the rough housework, I am sure." 

" But, Emma, she was not engaged to do it." 

" No, but if she does not like the transfer, she can go. 
She is no great treasure, after all. She has got a lymphatic 
look about her, and, I have a notion, will never answer." 

" A what, Emma % a nymph-like look, did you say ? Why 
she is as thick as a mile-stone." 

Emma laughed, but did not think it worth while to 
attempt an explanation. 

" And then, you see," resumed Mrs. "Wyndham, " Tyrell 
will have, or seem to have, more to do." 

" Not more than she used to have." 

"No, but then I engaged the kitchen-maid just because 
she had too much to do, particularly during the season, 
when your father likes frequent dinner-parties." 

" Tell her, then, you will get her help when she requires 
it. There is the coachman's wife, who would be glad to 
come in at any time." 

Accordingly this was agreed upon : Tyrell was to have 
assistance when there was a dinner-party. 

This plan, of course, while it relieved Mrs. Roper, threw 
an additional burden on Tyrell, who never complained, 
and who was on that account the less considered by the 



118 THE WYNDHAil FAMILY. 

mother and daughter, who specially lacked generosity and 
belonged to that objectionable class of persons who take 
what they can get. 

And now to what class of persons is the " lymphatic " 
Mary to be referred 1 I fear she belongs to the denomina- 
tion which may be described as that of " Can't help it." 
No, Mrs. Tyrell, you will never make much of Mary, 
either physically, intellectually, or religiously. She is not 
a bad girl — quite the reverse ; but she lacks a spring in her 
system to make the good active and progressive. She 
acts from the impulse furnished by others ; when the 
motive force thus received is exhausted, she looks round, 
finds herself changed, for she is no longer impelled, and so 
she sits still. She has no idea of drawing on herself; the 
will seems to be becalmed like a sailing-vessel when the 
wind goes down; it depends upon the breeze, and has no 
locomotion of its own. She cannot even rise to the con- 
ception of free action. Not to be disposed to do a thing is 
with her not to be able ; but as she is a well-intentioned 
girl, and gentle and docile with those who are kind to her^ 
she responds to good advice and follows it awhile ; the 
effect, however, does not last. Her understanding is not 
bad, but she has very little strength of character, and will 
probably never attain to anything above mediocrity. High 
sanctity seems further out of the reach of such persons than 
of the most faulty ; they may save their souls, but, as far as 
we have the means of judging, their range will be always 
low. Mrs. Tyrell had begun to perceive these radical 
deficiencies in the poor girl, but she was none the less the 
continual object of her kind solicitude ; and she made many 
allowances for her on the score of health, with which the 
heat of a London kitchen and the want of solar light 
decidedly disagreed. If this new arrangement, therefore, 
threw more work on the uncomplaining Tyrell, she consoled 
herself with the hope that it might benefit Mary's health 



CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. 119 

by varying her avocations and giving them a more active 
sphere. Mary, however, was extremely dissatisfied ; any 
change is disagreeable to a slothful nature, and specially a 
change which involves more active exertion, even if it 
imposes no larger amount of work. 

" Oh, dear ! how tired I am of this up and down, back- 
wards and forwards, sort of work ! " she exclaimed partly 
to herself, partly to Mrs. Tyrell, cleaning the top of a coffee- 
pot the while as if she had a spite against it. 

"Do you mean that it is tiring," said Mrs. Tyrell, "or 
only that you are tired of it 1 " 

" Oh, it is worse than tiring, it is tiresome. Mrs. Roper 
has more wants than Missis. Here has been the bell 
I'ingling for me twice within a quarter of an hour." 

*' Don't you see, Mary, you have strained the lid of that 
coffee-pot 1- It will not quite close now." 

"That's with cleaning; the grits get in the hinge. It 
can't be helped." 

" It can be helped with taking pains. If you had applied 
half the strength and twice the care, you could have avoided 
it. I assure you, Mary, banging about and handling things 
roughly is one form of sloth. Minute exertions call for 
self-restraint, and so require a double kind of effort, besides 
the attention. Sloth would rather blunder violently through 
its work without thought or check." 

Mary sighed : " How ever is one to do work well when 
one is called away every minute 1 " 

" Yet we must do it as well as we can, or we displease 
Him whom we serve, or ought to be serving. But, my 
dear girl, don't you see that you make half your trouble to 
yourself by dwelling on the past and anticipating the 
future? You had to run upstairs twice in a quarter of an 
hour; the second time you were annoyed, not so much 
from fatigue, I imagine, as because you recollected you had 
been obliged to go once before ; and now you are getting 



120 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

through your business in a hurried, discontented way be- 
cause you think you will be rung for again. I wish you 
would think less and think more — think of what you are 
doing and of the God you are doing it for. He has gra- 
ciously discharged you of the rest. After all, every minute 
we have belongs to God ; we can give Him no more ; we 
ought to give Him no less. Once fix this firmly in your 
mind and you will not complain. Cannot you let Him 
choose your employment for you % " 

" But one must be as good as a dead body not to care 
what it is," resumed Mary, who was in the contentious 
humour of irritated sloth. 

" A dead body : you could not have found a better com- 
parison. What are we here for but to put ourselves to 
death? What do you think all those expressions in the 
Holy Scriptures about the old man dying, and our being 
buried with Christ, mean ? " 

'' Our sins, to be sure. I know we must die to sin. I 
wouldn't commit a sin for anything. I am not a heathen.'' 

"It means," continued Mrs. Tyrell, not noticing the ill- 
humour, "that body in which sin dwells and has its 
fortress, our natural man ; we must die to our own nature, 
its desires, its repugnances, its loves, its fears, its enjoy- 
ments ; and, Mary, you know, if we do not accomplish this 
work here, but carry our dross away with us " 

" We shall go to Purgatory, I know," said Mary, looking 
a little grave. " i am sure I don't expect to escape Purga- 
tory." 

"Few can hope that," replied her companion, "and 
saints even, who went straight to glory, have not reckoned 
upon doing so ; but I was not so much alluding to the 
suflfering of Purgatory as to our having to suffer there, not 
only incomparably more than we can here, but without 
meriting. Make a virtue of necessity, as the saying is. If 
you feel that you have not the courage to choose what 



CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. 121 

contradicts your tastes, accept it with patience at least, 
since accept it you must." 

*' But how can one help being aggravated ? I am pro- 
voked without intending it. You see it is very easy to you, 
Mrs. Tyrell ; nothing provokes ^/ow." 

Mrs. Tyrell smiled, but of what recollections that smile 
was the silent exponent, she did not explain. " Well, 
then, Mary," she said, " if things provoke you which I do 
not feel, you have all the more opportunity of meriting. 
But what is this great provocation, after all? Mrs. Roper 
wanted hot water." 

" Yes, and she wanted hot water ten minutes before. 
What do you suppose it was for 1 For Rachel to wash her 
hands ! I think she might have come and fetched it 
herself" 

"Did you see her? " 

" No ; she was fiddle-faddling after something for Miss 
Wyndham." 

" In plain English, she was engaged at the moment, 
and Mrs. Roper, who wished to set her to work at Miss 
Gertrude's white crape gown the moment she was free, 
rang for you. I know there is very little time to spare j 
Mrs. Wyndham wants Miss Gertrude to wear it at the 
party." 

" And then I had to go up ten minutes later with some 
more, because that would not be hot enough for Miss 
Wyndham's sugar and water ; she must have it piping hot. 
I should like to know if that's a dying to oneself, to have 
all those fancies. It's much more like killing of other 
people." 

" Mary, you are very wrong," said Mrs. Tyrell, looking 
grave, almost stem. " Who are you, to judge another man's 
servant 1 Be it so, that it is a fancy — what is that to you 1 
but charity, and even justice, might suggest another reason. 
Miss Wyndham has a bad cold, and the sugar and water, 



122 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

she thinks, must be hot in order to do her good. For 
shame !" 

Mary now burst out crying, and hid her face in her 
apron. Mrs. Tyrell left her, and went into the back kitchen. 
The girl sobbed, in the hopes she would come back to soothe 
her, and accept her penitence, but her friend took no 
notice this time. Perhaps she did not deem the penitence 
quite genuine, or thought the wound might be healed a 
little too soon. 

These scenes were of frequent occurrence now, and 
nothing seemed to come of all the sorrow expressed, and 
possibly felt, after nature had relieved itself of its dis- 
comfort by an outbreak. Accordingly Mrs. Tyrell could 
not help suspecting a latent and subtle insincerity of 
purpose, and that what came to the surface on those occa- 
sions was symptomatic of an habitual state of mind rather 
than the fruit of surprise. 

Poor Mary had been unfortunately influenced for evil by 
Kachel, whom she really disliked, and now, unknown to 
herself, envied for her promotion. The embryo lady's-maid 
certainly did not bear her honours meekly, and had come 
out in quite a new character ; her democratic grumbling 
had been exchanged for aristocratic airs, and she contrived 
more and more to find excuses for shirking the moderate 
portion of housemaid's work which fell to her share under 
the new change in the administration. Mrs. Koper's desire 
to make all the use she could of her adjutant's services, 
and Emma's love of personal attention, played into the girl's 
hands, and furnished her with plausible pretexts. Pleased 
with having an attendant more at her beck than Roper 
could or would consent to be, that young lady entirely 
forgot that while Rachel was " fiddle-faddling" in her room 
(to use Mary's term for the waiting- woman's services), some- 
thing else must be neglected, or some one else must have 
extra labour. She looked upon the matter exclusively as 



CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION. l23 

concerned herself. Can any one wonder at the portentous 
and heartless selfishness which the possession of absolute 
power has fostered into being when we constantly see 
similar circumstances, though on a microscopic scale, so 
fruitful in developing the same characteristics ^ Emma 
only meant to make herself comfortable, to serve her own 
plans. What else do the worst amongst us mean 1 She 
had now got a bad cold in her head, which threatened to go 
to her chest. A red nose for the party was the least 
calamity to be feared ; a croaking voice seemed impending 
also ; and what if, worse still, she should have to take to 
her bed and not appear at all ! and so, to remedy the first 
evil, Rachel had been sent out for some orris-root powder 
to the chemist ; Emma having^discovered, to her great irrita- 
tion, that her box was empty, and having contemptuously 
declined some flour which Mrs. Tyrell had sent up as a 
substitute. She was now lying on a sofa with her nose 
encased in the violet powder, while, to relieve the tightness 
of chest, she sipped the hot water which Rachel held for 
her, as she could not rise or move on account of the 
powder. Save in the intense application of mind with 
which these restorative measures were followed, the great 
importance attached to them, and the utter disregard of the 
convenience of others, there was nothing to deserve par- 
ticular blame. To powder a red nose and sip hot sugar-and- 
water for a cold are assuredly very innocent actions ; and 
Tyrell's charity allowed her to advert to nothing further ; 
but the faulty temper which animated the whole pro- 
ceeding was too palpable to escape any one's notice. Rachel 
perceived it, and made use of it ; and she had already 
before her a vision of a confidential waiting- woman trusted 
with her young mistress's secrets, and employed to further 
her romantic designs. But had Emma any secrets 1 and 
would she entrust them to Rachel 1 



124 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

CHAPTER XIL 

THE YOUNG LADY AND HER WAITING-WOMAN. 

We have not done with the sick-room yet. However 
uninteresting the patient and waiting-woman may seem to 
the reader, we must give a moment's attention to what 
passed between them this morning. 

'' A letter for you, Miss." James had just brought it to 
the door. 

" Not Miss ; I have told you that before, Rachel ; it is 
vulgar and countrified. No one is called Miss by — by — 
any one who knows better." The last words dropped out 
rather absently, for Emma saw her brother's hand-writing, 
and opened the letter hurriedly. We will peep over her 
shoulder, a privilege which we may be sure Rachel would 
have envied us. 

" Dearest Em, 

" I am in despair, and ready to tear my hair, only that 
that would disfigure me, and not advance matters. Here 
I have been paying court to Madame Mere assiduously for 
these last ten days without catching even a sight of the 
beloved one. What am I to do ? The sly old lady, I am 
sure, does not desire me for a son-in-law, and my only 
chance is in surprising a confession of liking from the 
daughter, of which, between ourselves, I have good hopes. 
But the young lady has been so furiously well brought up, 
that if Mama is the medium of communication I have not 
the smallest chance ; and a letter, of course, can surprise 
nothing out of anybody. The reply will be deliberate, and 
influenced by the higher powers. What am I to do 1 How 
is it possible to obtain even five minutes' unobserved con- 
versation with the object of my afi"ections, whom I seldom 



THE YOUNG LADY AND HER WAITING- WOMAN. 125 

can so mucli as see, even in company with others 1 Can 
your woman's brain, so fertile in devices, contrive any way 
of helping 

*' Your well-nigh despairing brother, 

" Algernon." 

''When would a letter be received in Alban Street to- 
day V asked Emma, starting up in temporary oblivion of 
powdered nose and hot water. 

" I really can't say, Ma'am, but I suppose this evening." 

" Of course, I know that, and I don't want guesses. 
Just ask Roper — the precise hour, and lose no time. Stop, 
I will go myself. No, I will run down to the drawing- 
room and write the letter ready. The ladies are out, are 
they not?" 

" Oh, Miss — Ma'am — your nose !" ejaculated E-achel, as 
Emma's hand was on her bedroom door. 

" True," said Emma, returning, and glancing at herself 
in the glass. " My goodness ! what a fright I am !" 

" Law ! Ma'am ; how can you say so ? " 

" I think the powder has done it some good, though," 
said Emma, brushing the remainder off. 

" I'll just send Mrs. Roper, and run for ink and writing- 
paper," said Rachel, all obligingness and despatch. 

Mrs. Roper's reply was unsatisfactory : it was after 
twelve, so the letter would not be delivered till the evening. 
Now Algernon, Emma happened to know, was going out of 
town for a couple of days ; and, to be of any use, the letter 
must be at his lodgings before three o'clock. The post 
therefore could not serve him. 

" I must send a note to my brother ; Roper, who could 
take it f ' 

"James might be wanted ; and he is out, too, just now." 

" I cannot send James, of course. Is there no one else ? 
What a bore that we live so far off everything !" 



126 THE WINDHAM FAMILY. 

** If I took the omnibus," suggested the officious atten- 
dant, who had returned with writing-materials, " I could 
reach Mr. Wyndham's lodgings by one o'clock." 

Mrs. Roper objected her need of KacheFs services for 
Miss Gertrude's gown ; but, the new waiting-maid having 
declared that she did not care how long she sat up at night 
to finish it, so as Miss Wyndham might not be disappointed 
of her letter being in time, Roper's remonstrances were 
overruled, and she was prevailed on to give a reluctant 
consent. 

" It would be as well," said Emma carelessly, " not to 
go out of your way to mention it to Mama : she might be 
afraid Gertrude's gown would not be finished." 

Roper grumbled something inaudible, but Rachel gave 
an intelligent look of acquiescence, which was meant to 
express the quintessence of devoted trustworthiness. This 
approach to a confidential mission made her heart beat with 
delight, and her eyes sparkle, as, in her best bonnet, trimmed 
with blue ribbons, and displaying, according to the then 
approved fashion of bonnets, more than three parts of the 
head which it was presumed to cover, she hastened along, 
with all the fresh fervour of her new office, to catch the 
first omnibus. 

Algernon lived at no gi-eat distance from the Kensington 
turnpike. Here the damsel alighted, and had soon reached 
the door of his lodgings. Rachel had been charged to 
make sure that the note was delivered to Mr. Wyndham 
immediately, and, if he was out, then to be very particular 
to leave directions that he was to receive it the moment he 
returned. She had accordingly settled in her own mind 
that the best way to make sure of Mr. Algernon receiving 
the important despatch at once, was to ask to see him 
herself, particularly as this combined the opportunity of 
observing the effect produced by its contents, besides the 
chance of catching some stray exclamation, or of some 



THE YOUNG LADY AND HER WAITING-WOMAN. 127 

query being addressed to her which might throw a little 
light on the mystery. The young woman who answered 
the door was, of course, quite aware that the smartly- 
dressed individual who asked with an air of much assumed 
confidence whether Mr. Wyndham was at home, as she 
wished to speak to him for a moment, was, as the saying is, 
no better than herself, and no way entitled to command an 
audience from a gentleman of fashion. She was not, there- 
fore, disposed to be accommodating. Mr. Wyndham was at 
home, but there was a gentleman with him ; she was quite 
sure he could not see any one. 

" You can take a message, though, I suppose," replied 
Rachel, snappishly. *' Please to say Miss Wyndham's 
lady's-maid is here, by her desire. My lady wished me to 
see him about something very particular." 

This shot took effect, and the guardian of the door 
removed her person from the threshold, admitted Rachel, 
and stumped up stairs. 

A knock, and a lazy " Come in," followed by a " WeU, 
Jane ; what is it 1" 

" A young person, sir ; and wants very particular to see 
you." Jane was rather slow in enunciation, and was not 
clever in delivering herself of information in a clear form. 
The right end never went first, and the main point was 
sometimes omitted altogether. 

A laugh from a strange voice followed. Each el had 
taken the liberty of walking up one flight of stairs, and 
thus caught a portion of the dialogue. Algernon's reply 
was lost in the stranger's loud laugh ; but, the result having 
been apparently an acquiescence in the young person's 
request, Jane turned round and, seeing Rachel on the first 
landing, beckoned her to come on, and stuck the drawing- 
room door open for her entrance. When the gii'l found 
herself in presence of the two gentlemen she felt a little 
abashed. It is pleasant to have to record this little trait of 



128 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

modesty on lier part, if it were but for its rarity. Racliel 
knew Algernon well by sight, but lie had probably never 
seen, or never remarked, his father's quondam housemaid ; 
he was lounging on a sofa smoking a cigar, which he threw 
aside politely as she entered, and raised himself into a 
sitting attitude, preparatory to rising altogether. Algernon 
was well-mannered to every one ; the other gentleman was 
leaning back in an arm-chair busy with a tooth-pick ; the 
remains of breakfast were on the table. I am sorry to say 
he did not discontinue his occupation, but stared at Kachel 
out of his bush of whiskers and beard. 

Kachel's self-confidence had for the moment deserted her, 
and she dropped into the housemaid, with the humble con- 
sciousness of her position. " Please, sir," she stammered 
out, " you will excuse me, I am Eachel, sir, from Berkeley 
Square." 

" Oh, Rachel, to be sure ; not expecting to see you, I did 
not recollect you at once," said the good-natured Algernon, 
more good-natured than strictly truthful, for if he had 
looked all day he never would have recognised a face 
virtually unknown to him, though the name was familiar 
to him. " You are looking so well, too," he added, in a 
pleasant but quite respectful tone. Algernon was well 
aware how bitter to a modest woman in an inferior class 
must be a compliment from her superior seasoned with the 
slightest freedom or impertinence, and he had the good 
feeling to give every woman the credit for modesty as long 
as he was not sure she did not deserve it. Rachel brightened 
and regained her self-possession. " Sit down, my good girl ; 
I suppose you have brought a message 1 Nothing the matter, 

I hope r 

" No, sir, thank you j I am waiting on Miss Wyndham 
now." A movement on the part of the bearded gentleman, 
who now actually rose and pushed a chair towards Rachel. 
" Law ! sir, I could not think of sitting ;" — this was paren- 



THE YOUNG LADY AND HER "WAITING- WOMAN. 129 

tbetical — " I'm waiting on Miss Wyndham now, and she 
was so very particular that you should have this note before 
you left town, that I came with it in the omnibus. My 
missis was out ; it was Miss Wyndham as sent me ; and 
that's the reason I asked to see you, for fear there might 
be some mistake." 

Algernon took the letter without a comment, opened it, 
and passed his eyes rapidly over its contents. 

*' Miss Wyndham 's not at all well," observed the mes- 
senger, disappointed of the expected exclamation; "she 
has a bad cold, as I dare say she says, sir/' 

But Algernon was not going to tell Rachel, or any one 
else, by either word or look what she did say, so we must 
peep again, and let ourselves into the secret. 

" My dear Algernon, 

*' Nothing could be more fortunate. Gertrude was to 
have gone to-morrow morning with Anne to Kensington 
Gardens at an hour when it is sacred to nursery-maida, 
children, and governesses, to sketch a clump of trees — the 
sole attendant, an old French nurse of Anne's, considered 
by Madame sufficient protection at that hour. I have so 
bad a cold that Mama cannot spare Gertrude, who was to 
have spent the day in Grosvenor Street, so the ' beloved' 
will be alone. Your ingenuity will suggest some expedient 
for dodging the old woman. Besides, the French never 
understand much English if they live here all their days. 
I presume it will be worth while to disappoint or affront 
your Windsor friend rather than lose so invaluable an 
opportunity, by being out of town to-morrow morning." 

" I will send a line, Eachel ; just wait a moment " ; and 
Algernon walked to the writing-table. " Where are you 
going, Baines V This was to his friend, who was moving 
towards the door. 

K 



130 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" I have just remembered some business, Wyndham ; so 
must say good-bye." 

" But perhaps our roads lie the same way 1 I shall be at 
your service in a moment." 

"No, no; quite in another direction; don't think of 
me " ; and Captain Baines — for the individual was no other 
than Emma's favoured admirer — took his departure without 
further remark. 

Whatever his pressing business might be, it did not 
interfere with a little loitering, as, some twenty minutes 
later, he might have been seen standing talking to a smart 
young woman with blue ribbons in her bonnet, who was 
waiting for the omnibus. I am not sure she did not miss 
one, so engaged was her attention, and sometliing very 
like half a sovereign was dropped into her hand, as the next 
came in sight ; when Bachel — for, of course, it was Rachel 
— with beaming eye and heightened colour held up her 
finger to the approaching vehicle, and the Captain pursued 
his leisurely and, apparently, rather objectless walk. Per- 
haps the *' business " had already been transacted. 

Let us follow the messenger home, and listen to her 
account of her embassy to her employer. 

''"So you saw JNIr. Algernon 1" 

" Yes, ma'am ; I thought they were so careless at lodgings, 
and perhaps the letter might just wait till the first time 
the bell rung, and Mr. Wyndham might slip out before he 
got it." 

"Quite right," replied Emma, looking satisfied, and 
transferring Algernon's note to the pocket of her dress. 

" Law ! ma'am ; what a handsome gentleman there was 
sitting with Mr. Algernon ! So noble-looking, with black 
whiskers ! — so black ! " 

Emma looked up, arched her eyebrow with a half- 
inquiring glance, coloured a little, and seemed about to 
make an observation, but, apparently thinking better of it, 
only said, " Very likely." 



THE YOUNG LADY AND HER WAITING-WOMAN. 131 

But Rachel continued, *'And lie did seem in sucli a 
taking about your cold." 

" About my cold 1 What did he know about that ?" 
and Emma's usually haughty countenance was now suffused 
with a deep blush. 

" He heard me tell Mr. Algernon," replied Rachel, 
looking straight at her young mistress, in order that she 
might be well aware that she noticed her confusion. 

" Nonsense, girl ! " said Emma, rising and walking away ; 
*' how can you talk such stuff?" She felt ruffled at having 
betrayed her interest in the circumstance. 

" 0, I beg your pardon, ma'am," rejoined the malicious 
attendant ; " I did not mean to say anything wrong. I am 
sorry I have given offence " ; and she turned to occupy 
herself with some little trifling work. 

A slight pause ; and then, Emma's curiosity having 
triumphed over her pride — Rachel expected as much — she 
condescended to ask a question. " And pray how did this 
black -haired gentleman show this wonderful interest about 
my cold ] " 

Rachel had gained her point, and, having received this 
permission to be communicative, gave a full account of 
what we already know or guess, — that the Captain had 
waylaid her in the street to make most eager and anxious 
inquiries after Miss "Wyndham's health ; only the little 
concluding cii'cumstance of the half-sovereign retaining-fee 
was, of course, not noticed, though it had been duly acted 
upon, as expected by the donor. 

Emma listened without rebuking her attendant again. 
She did certainly ' say that Rachel ought not to stand 
talking to strangers in the street, and that Mrs. "Wyndham 
would not be pleased if she knew it, but she did not say 
that she was herself displeased. 

" Law ! ma'am ; I'm not going to say a word to missis. 
You may quite trust me." 

K 2 



132 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

The expression " trust me" jarred a little on tlie feelings 
of Emma, but the well-known knock of her mother, who 
was returning from some morning shopping with Gertrude, 
reminded her that, after all, it might be well that Rachel 
should know how to hold her tongue, even at the expense 
of a slight mortification to her own pride. 

The ice was now broken. The waitiog-maid had won a 
position towards the realization of her dreams, and was 
resolved, we may relj upon it, to make full use of the 
advantage. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE PROPOSAL. 

I AM not writing a love tale ; you must not, therefore, be 
disappointed, my reader, if I tell you very little about the 
meeting in Kensington Gardens ; no more, in fact, than 
you can gather incidentally from a private scene to which 
I will introduce you. I will lift the veil for a moment, 
that you may be the witness of one of those confidences 
which must ever be, under the most favourable circum- 
stances, more or less agitating to the natural feelings of the 
mother. I mean when the daughter first tells her that she 
loves one well enough to leave her for ever — yes, to leave 
her ; for it is to leave, were it but to dwell in a home of 
nearest vicinity. It is to leave her gentle authority, her 
sweet guiding control ; her love is no longer to rule as law ; 
she will not be less dear to her child — oh, no! but she 
must now be loved by her less exclusively ; and alas, for 
the poverty of the human heart, which ill can furnish two 
engrossing affections ! 



THE PROPOSAL. 133 

Such a confidence Madame d'Hericourt knows she has 
received, though Anne has but confessed Algernon's decla- 
ration of attachment, with her fair head half buried in her 
mother's bosom, and has now ventured to raise her timid 
blue ejes to read in the expression of that mother's face 
the feelings with which she has received the avowal. 

Madame d'Hericourt was silent ; she could not trust her- 
self to speak ; thoughts, however, such as we have alluded 
to, were not present to her mind; they would have met with 
no encouragement had they arisen, but they were altogether 
stifled under the pressure of more painful considerations. 
She was suffering a pang of deep disappointment. She had 
brought up her child for God, not for herself; she had 
schooled doAvn all selfish, exclusive love, all grudging pos- 
session of her darling ; she was content to part with her, 
most content if for God alone ; but if that were not His 
design, then to give her to a good and worthy man, who 
would not mar by evil influence the work which she trusted 
was begun, but would fortify her in the practice of every 
Christian virtue : and such a one she believed she had found, 
and kept in reserve. No doubt Anne's unpreoccupied 
heart would be bestowed according to her mother's advice, 
and in accordance with her own evident sentiments of esteem 
and friend.ship, should she incline in favour of marriage ; and 
Madame d'Hericourt had fondly hoped that she had so hedged 
in her daughter from all intimacy and, as much as possible, 
acquaintance, which could lead to an unwise attachment, 
as to leave no api)arent alternative, when the matter was set 
before her, save of a good choice or of one incomparably 
better. Fearful, however, as I have observed, of being 
beforehand with God's designs, she had resolved upon some 
further delay, before ascertaining Anne's wishes with respect 
to a state of life ; and now a worldly man had stepped in, with 
his superficial attractions and skin-deep goodness, and had 
usurped the young heart which she had scrupled to bespeak 



134 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

for one of whose genuine excellence she was convinced ; for 
a sure instinct told Madame d'Hericourt that Algernon was 
in fact nothing better than a man of the world, although 
gifted with many natural good qualities. He had, it is true, 
succeeded in concealing the evil ; good tact and prudence 
alike had led him to draw a veil over all that could have 
displeased or alarmed the strictest principles ; but the Chris- 
tian mother could not be mistaken as to the deficiency of 
piety and the predominance of the spirit of this world. 
She missed the sweet odour of the former ; she detected the 
subtle infection of the latter. Yet she could point to 
nothing reprehensible ; she could allege no proof of the 
correctness of her impressions ; and so she was silent, till 
Anne interrogated her with that meek upward glance. 

" My dearest child, you have known him so short a time ; 
surely you cannot regard him with any other sentiments 
than those one entertains for an agreeable acquaintance. I 
am aware that you like him, still you cannot really . . . . " 
Madame d'Hericourt stopped short. 

But Anne, though all confusion, summoned up her courage 
to complete the unfinished sentence : " love him .... no, 
Mama, perhaps hardly so much, but I feel as if I could, 
as if I should, love him, particularly now that I know he 
loves me." 

" And what reply did you make, Anne % " 

" I said I could not give him any ; that I must reflect on 
the subject ; and, above all, I must speak to you, and ask 
your advice." 

" Did that answer satisfy him 1 " 

" I think it did — tolerably, at least " — answered Anne, 
with much simplicity. *' He said, of course your con- 
sent was necessary ; but to know whether I loved him 
I must question my own heart ; and he pressed me again 
just to say so." 

'•♦And did you say so ?" rejoined her mother, repressing 



THE PROPOSAL. 135 

by a strong effort the outward expression of her painful 
anxietj. 

*' No, I think I said nothing ; I hurried away, and begged 
him not to follow me ; the last thing I heard him say was 
that he would call on you. Oh, I remember, too, he 
said he would not have made so abrupt a declaration had 
he been able to see more of me, and give me time to know 
him better." 

" He means to call," repeated Madame d'Hericourt; "and 
what do you wish me to say to him, my love ? " 

" What do you wish, dearest mother] I fear this does not 
please you." 

" Well, my dear child, I do not wish to conceal from you 
that it makes me very anxious. I cannot be otherwise 
where your happiness is at stake; and it is my duty as well. 
I really know so very little of Mr. Wyndhara, I mean of 
his character and principles, and particularly his religious 
principles and habits." 

"I think^he is very good," said Anne, timidly. " I am 
sure I should not like him if I thought he was not ; and 
he has always shown a great interest in any religious 
subject." 

" In anything, my love, of coui^e, which appeared to in- 
terest you^ — sacred prints and the like : this is natural ; we 
must not place too much dependence on symptoms of this 
sort; neither," she added, seeing Anne about to make some 
rejoinder, " ought we to presume anything unfavourable in 
the absence of proof." 

'•And so I was going to say, Mama, that we cannot know 
more till we know him better; and, as you asked me what 
I wished " — she looked up again to her mother. 

" Yes, my love ; that is exactly what I desire fully to 
know." 

" It would be," continued Anne, " that you should say 
just this — that we did not know him well enough to give 



136 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

any answer yet, and then allow him to visit here, jnst as 
Mr. E-ochfort comes, you know, Mama, if you have no objec- 
tion ; and so in this way we should become well acquainted 
with him." 

Alas for all poor Madame d'H^ricourt's cherished plans ! 
it was a bitter trial. Moreover, she felt in her bosom an 
inward rising of dislike and repugnance, more even than 
she could reasonably account for, to the proposal which had 
come to overset them. Was it all prudent caution 1 was it 
an instinctive warning of Algernon's unworthiness 1 or was 
it partly prejudice and disappointment operating in his dis- 
favour 1 or was it a compound of all 1 She knew not ; nor 
can I tell you ; but this I can tell you, that Madame 
d'Hericourt always suspected the purity of her motives and 
the accuracy of her judgment, when she felt excited ; so 
she determined not to reply in a hurry, but to give herself 
time for calm reflection and, above all, for prayer. 

" My love," she said, " you have now candidly told me 
your wishes ; I feel I cannot answer you without a little 
consideration. I will speak to you again in the course of 
the morning, before Mr. Wyndham calls ; meantime let us 
pray, dearest, that God will guide and help us both ; me to 
give wise and prudent advice, and you to do whatever is 
most pleasing to Him." 

The distressed mother retired to her oratory, to pour forth 
her griefs, her anxieties, and her irresolutions at the foot of 
the Crucifix. There we will leave her without intruding 
on her privacy, and will rejoin her only as she comes out 
calm and grave, but with her usual sweet serenity restored. 
She seeks her daughter; she has made up her mind, and is 
unwilling to keep her longer in suspense. 

" Anne, dearest," she said, making her daughter sit down 
by her, and taking her hand in her own, " I have always 
found you docile to reason, and faithful to duty. I am 
persuaded, therefore, that you will at once cheerfully 



THE PROPOSAL. 137 

acquiesce in the decision I have arrived at. I see the 
strong partiality you entertain for Mr. Wyndham ; ndeed, 
you have not disguised a preference which I do not think 
of blaming. There is much to account for your liking 
but at the same time I cannot consider it really justified 
I mean in a reasonable point of view, upon so very short 
and superficial an acquaintance. It has no solid ground at 
present; possibly — remember, I only say possibly — there 
may be none to warrant it : this remains to be proved ; 
but T should be acting very wrongly by you if I allowed 
what must as yet be not much more than a sentiment 
to become an attachment before we are well assui ed of the 
worth of the object. You say you wish to know him 
better ; but, my dear child, the sort of intercourse which 
would be established by allowing him to become a regular 
visitor, would indeed lead to your liking him better, but 
would hardly furnish the sort of knowledge we desire. 
He will know he is on trial ; he will naturally desire to 
appear such as we wis^h him to be ; the very desire will 
almost make him fancy himself to be such ; temporary 
transformations of this kind are not rare. Besides, you 
will yourself feel — I am sure I should in your place — that 
to see him on this footing is to give him very strong 
encouragement ; and that after a while it would become 
difficult, almost impossible, indeed, to recede. You will 
have retained, it is true, your liberty of giving a negative 
at the end of some allotted probationary term, but will it 
be a liberty you will be quite free to exercise ? Besides, 
liking would on your part be gradually ripening into 
attachment ; and you would uncon.-ciously have passed 
into a phase of mind which ill qualifies it to form an 
independent judgment. His own affection would have 
meanwhile been deepened, his expectations raised, — and 
vejy justly so, I must say ; so that at the end of the 
time, which could not be indefinitely prolonged, a refusal 



138 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

would seem to have become a thing quite out of the 
question." 

Madame d'Hericourt paused, and cast a glance at her 
daughter. Anne was silent, her eyes cast down, but the 
blood suffusing her cheek betrayed the inward emotion. 
Without looking up, Anne, at last, aware that some response 
was called for, muttered softly, " Whatever you wish and 
think best, dearest Mama — yet I own — it would not be 
true of me not to say so — I should refuse him even now 
with some regret." 

" I do not ask you to refuse him, dearest," resumed her 
mother ; "I do not even wish it, after what you have told 
me of your sentiments ; but I have a plan of my own to 
suggest, which in its object is similar to yours, but will not 
entail its disadvantages or perplexities. You are young, 
Anne ; so young, that as yet I fancy you have not ever 
seriously turned your mind to what ought to be your 
future state of life ; the one, I mean, which God would 
choose for you, if you permit Him to choose. I had begun 
to think that it was time you should make this a matter of 
prayer. We are, as you know, purposing to return this 
summer to France, and I meant with you to make a retreat 

in the c(mvent of before going to Hericourt for the 

summer months. You will see your director, and have 
every opportunity of deciding whether marriage is the 
state of life which God designs for you. That it is so 
I think highly probable ; but we cannot prejudge such 
matters. When your mind is satisfactorily settled with 
respect to this point, I will endeavour, by every means at 
my dii^posal, to obtain the best information with regard to 
Mr. Wyndham's character and disposition, habits, tastes, 
and, above all, religious principles. I know, my dearest 
child, that, pleasing as he may be to you, you would not 
desire to unite yourself by the holiest bonds to one who 
would not aid you to lead a holy life." 



THE PROPOSAL. 139 

" Oh, no, Mama," was Anne's prompt and cordial reply. 

" We shall, according to my present intentions," con- 
tinued her mother, "return in the early spring to London, 
and then we shall be in a position to form a decision." 

" But what will you say to Mr. Wyndham 1 " asked the 
daughter. 

" I should say what you youi-self suggested — that our 
present knowledge of him was too imperfect ; I should 
add that you were besides very young, and that I could 
not under these circumstances allow of any engagement, or 
further meetings, which might lead to one ; that I wished 
both you and him to remain perfectly free, and all visiting 
at our house to be discontinued. At the same time I 
should place no bar or prohibition as regards the future ; 
only it must be thoroughly understood that the whole 
thing is for the present, and for some time to come, at an 
end. If the young man really loves you, he will accept 
these conditions ; they will test the solidity of his own 
attachment, and will enable you to form a sober estimate 
of the character of your preference. Should he prove 
inconstant, you will not break your heart, my love — will 
you r 

" Oh, no," replied Anne, smiling ; " I should not break 
my heart, certainly. I should not think, if he was so change- 
able, that he was worth breaking one's heart about." 

And Anne was really not very sorry for this arrange- 
ment. She did not like refusing her fascinating admirer, 
but she was better pleased not to be hurried into accept- 
ance. We cannot say as much for the lover. He was not 
satisfied ; yet, on the whole, he knew that matters might 
have stood worse for him. He was not irrevocably dis- 
missed ; he flattered himself he had made an impression, 
if only it should last, and if too much should not during 
these long months transpire concerning his ways and habits. 
At any rate he would be a pattern of discretion while on 



140 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

his trial. All this flashed through his mind as he listened 
to his sentence. What he disliked most was his being 
forbidden the house. He pleaded hard for one parting 
interview at least ; but this INfadame d'Hericourt peremp- 
torily refused. It would, she said, at once quite alter the 
character of the separation. Algernon knew this well ; 
and it was his reason for desiring it, as it was the wise 
mother's for objecting to it. He submitted, however, with 
a good grace. 

" Believe me, it is best it should be thus," said Madame 
d'Hericourt. "■ Trust me, I have but a single interest in 
the affair — my daughter's happiness ; and I may add, 
Mr. Wyndham, that I am by no means careless of yours ; 
it will best be secured by the same precautions. Perhaps," 
she added, smiling, " you may before long feel grateful to 
me for having thus jealously guarded your entire liberty." 

" No, no," replied Algernon, " I shall never change," 

" Well, be it so. I know you think so now ; but if it 
should be otherwise, no blame will attach to you ; and 
I must take care that you should be certain that none 
could possibly be imputed to you. If you persevere in 
your present sentiments, you will, I may assure you, never 
find me unreasonable." 

With this she held out her hand, which Algernon 
pressed, and even presumed, on the strength of her foreign 
habits, to raise to his lips. And so they parted good friends ; 
and Madame d'Hericourt had reason, on the whole, not to 
be dissatisfied with her day's work. A reprieve had been, 
at any rate, obtained, and the event she com mitted to God. 

One question remained : was Eustace to be told 1 She 
felt on consideration that this communication was due to 
him. Accordingly she briefly acquainted him with what 
had taken place. Algernon had abruptly profiosed ; Anne 
seemed well disposed towards him, but had referred the 
matter to her. She had in consequence put an end to all 



THE PROPOSAL. 141 

visits and meetings ; and the thing was for the present to 
be, save in this respect, as if it had not occurred. "Anne's 
impression is clearly not deep," she added ; " and you know- 
that at any rate I should not have allowed her as yet to 
enter into any engagement — even one which would have 
been more satisfactory to me in every way. Of Mr. Wynd- 
ham, of course, I know but little." 

" He is a regular man of the world," was Eustace's 
somewhat bitter rejoinder ; " but I am scarcely surprised." 

" You mean that I ought not to have allowed such a one 
the free entree of my house. It was not my doing, as 
I could explain were it worth while ; but I suppose, 
Eustace, you do not question my prudence ?" 

" Not in the least ; you must pardon me, but this is a 
terrible disappointment to me." 

She knew it was ; for he was one who, though unde- 
monstrative, felt deeply, and she could not doubt his 
genuine attachment to her daughter. That Eustace would 
not resign her until certain that her heart was another's, 
she needed not the assurance he gave her, but she advised 
him, during the remaining period of their stay in London, 
to come very seldom to the house, and not spend any of the 
old familiar evenings with them. "It will be better for 
many reasons," she said. 

Some of these reasons were obvious, and one, which she 
would not have wished to allege, weighed powerfully with 
her. The contrast, already adverted to by her daughter, 
between Eustace aud Algernon, would not at this moment 
have operated in favour of the former, who was sure, 
besides, like all who are of a reserved temperament, to show 
to special disadvantage when under the influence of dis- 
couragement, which is apt to make persons of this charac- 
ter take refuge in a silence of a peculiarly unattractive and 
ungracious description. Eustace willingly took her advice, 
and was sparing of his visits, which for some excuse he 



142 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

always shortened ; but, notwithstanding his efforts to appear 
as usual, his natural gravity was, on these occasions, deep- 
ened into something so very like moodiness, that Pauline's 
quick observant eye noticed the change. 

" What can have come over Mr. Rochfort ? " she said 
to her sister one day ; " he is grown so disagreeable !" 

" Disagreeable ? 1 have not observed it," replied Anne, 
very sincerely ; for, in fact, she had been too much occu- 
pied with her own reflections to give much heed to the 
behaviour of others ; and, indeed, at no time did she advert 
to what was external with the same vivacity as her younger 
sister, whose perceptive faculties were of a very acute and 
lively order. 

" Yes, disagreeable ; and, to tell you the truth," she 
added, lowering her voice to a confidential whisper, " he 
has not, I fancy, ever been the same since the first evening 
Mr. Wyndham came. I have a notion he is jealous; indeed 
I overheard Emma say she was sure he was." 

" Jealous of what 1 " said Anne, suddenly blushing up to 
the roots of her hair. 

" 0, I don't know ; just only because we liked Mr. 
Wyndham, I suppose ; and Emma's remark put the idea 
into my head, or I should not have thought of it " ; and 
Pauline ran off, singing carelessly. 

A new idea had now also been suggested to Anne, which 
put her upon a train of thought favourable neither to her 
own inward tranquillity nor to the plans which her mother 
cherished i7i petto, and over which she hoped she had thrown 
so discreet a veil. Truly the new friends had not brought 
additional peace to this household. 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 143 

CHAPTER XIY. 

TWO FAMILY SCENES. 

People cannot get on well in the gay London world with- 
out paying their way. If they do not give dinners and 
evening parties, invitations to dinners and evening parties 
will be few and far between ; they will receive them mainly 
from personal friends, always a limited number. Excep- 
tions must be made, of course, for the case of persons whose 
presence is considered, for one reason or other, an honour or 
advantage. Fashion, position, beauty — especially beauty 
which has got a name, and has therefore added fashion to 
its prestige — a reputation for talent or agreeability, and so 
forth, will cause individuals to be objects of attention for 
their owtl sakes ; but the rule may be said to hold good 
for most families of mediocre pretensions — of single gentle- 
men I am not speaking — families who, without being 
reckoned among the elite of the fine world, nevertheless 
do not sink to the level of what goes by the name of 
" second set " ; and who, if they do not precisely add to the 
distinction of the society with which they mingle, which in 
a general way is the best, are not considered to disgrace it- 
The heau rtionde does not wonder at seeing them, nor does 
it superciliously ask who they are, or how they got there, 
in however fashionable a house they may be seen, although 
to the very finest circles they have rare access. These 
families, as I have said, have to make efi'orts in order to 
maintain themselves on the high level which they desire to 
keep, and not to be forgotten or overlooked ; they must, as 
was observed, pay their way. To the set below them their 
presence would be an honour, for there they would figure 
as fashionables ; but this would not serve their purpose. 



144 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

They cling to a higlaer sphere of society, and in this sphere 
they are not worth very much. 

When I say they must pay their way, I do not mean 
that money alone could avail to purchase all which they 
may contrive to secure. There must be, besides, certain 
recommendations, of one order or another, in their favour. 
It was just this sort of recommendations which the Wynd- 
hams possessed. The father was a man of good family 
and a member of Parliament ; he had always mixed in 
good society, and had kept up his acquaintance, with 
whom he was generally popular. His wife, it is true, 
was of inferior extraction ; but then she was handsome 
and showy, as well as lively, and was generally reckoned 
agreeable. Most persons, indeed, were ignorant of what 
her extraction had been, and, as none of her relations 
appeared on the scene, she had nothing to stamp her as 
vulgar — a thing naturally considered a far greater objec- 
tion than low birth. Very few, perhaps, comparatively, 
even among those whose own manners are through habit 
and education conventionally refined, possess the gift of a 
sensitive discrimination between acquired and ingrained 
refinement of manners. Beatrice Wyndham was certainly 
not vulgar in the ordinary sense of the word, and so she 
passed muster with the world in general. The two girls 
were pretty, not precisely great beauties, — at least they had 
not had the good or ill fortune to be reckoned among the 
special beauties of the season, — but pretty they certainly 
were, and graced a ball-room. Algernon made nearer 
approaches to being positively fashionable than the rest of 
his family, and could easily make his way almost anywhere 
on his own personal merits. 

Such was the position of the Wyndham family. We know 
already that they were not rich. Yet the way had to be 
paid, and this chiefly through the mother's exertions, for 
beyond a desire to have the dinners he gave good, and sent 



TWO FAMILY SCENES, 145 

up in good taste, the father's ambition did not extend. 
Parties and balls, indeed, were not at all in his way, and 
if occasionally called upon to play the part of chaperon 
to his daughters, when Mrs. Wyndham happened to be 
indisposed, the charge was reckoned by him as decidedly 
irksome. Nevertheless he acquiesced in his wife's well- 
supported arguments, and still more in her wish that the 
girls should go out in London society, and submitted with 
tolerable cheerfulness to the expenses thereby entailed. These 
were considerable in the way of dress alone. During the 
previous season, moreover, Mrs. Wyndham had judged it 
absolutely essential to give both a party and a ball. But 
these, especially the ball, involved so large an outlay that 
Mr. Wyndham had grumbled a good deal. And now 
another year had come round, with its fresh requirements ; 
a second daughter had come out ; it was necessary to do 
something to keep the wheel going. Accordingly, cards 
had been sent out for a party, as we have seen. Mr. Wynd- 
ham had agreed, upon being informed that it was a thing 
of necessity, and that it would be positively shabby not to 
make some return for the civilities received ; that invita- 
tions would soon fall off if they never opened their doors, 
which would be particularly hard on poor Gertrude, whose 
first season this was ; but his wife did not venture to hint 
at a ball ; she would at least secure the party first. 

" Mama," said Emma, as together mother and daughter 
were conning over the visiting list, and speculating upon 
the numbers likely to fill their drawing-rooms on the follow- 
ing Wednesday, " we must have a ball, of course, also ; no 
one cares much about parties, except the old ones ;: in fact, 
the only good of the j)arty is to dispose politely of lots of 
dowdies who must be asked to something, and would fill 
up a ball-room, besides being no credit to it. The party is 
a safety-valve for getting rid of these redundancies." 

"Your father, I am sure," said Mrs. Wyndham, '^will 
L 



14G THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

not agree to a ball this year. I have not ventured to sug- 
gest it, but mean to plead for a second party when your 
uncle John's visit is over ; for really I am unable otherwise 
to ask all those whom I cannot help asking ; we should 
overflow, and I want the second to be the most select." 

" But, dear Mama," rejoined Emma, " when v/e are about 
it, why not have the dancing too? it makes quite a different 
thing of it, and can make very little difference in the ex- 
pense, which I suppose is Papa's objection." 

" Ah, but it does make a great deal of difference in the 
expense," replied the prudent mother. " You must have a 
band, and take carpets up, and be more fully lighted, and 
have a regular suj)per, in aldition to the refreshments 
which sufiice for a party. You have no idea, child, of the 
difference." 

" Why need we have a regular band 1 " asked Gertrude, 
looking up from her novel, — Gertrude relished her novel 
much as she did her balls, — '• Mrs. Penfold gave a dance the 
other day with only a pianoforte, harp, and something eh:e, 
and the carpet left down." 

*' There was a drugget nailed down to save the carpet," 
said the observant mother. " JMrs. Penfold is the Bishop of 
Dorset's wife : that was the reason there was a carpet. The 
Bishop would not like to be said to give balls." 

•' How very comical ! " exclaimed Emma, laughing. " In 
for a penny in for a pound, I should have thought. Dancing 
is dancing, whether the carpet is on or off; only I know 
it is very heavy work with the carpet down, and waltzing 
next to impossible." 

'•You see it was a compromise, my dear, between the 
Bishop and his lady." 

" O, dear Mama, please don't talk of any one's lady," said 
Emma, very earnestly. " I heard Lady Jane Eollett sneering 
at some one's vulgarity the other day for saying it." 

" Mind your own business, Emma," rejoined JMrs. Wynd- 



TWO FAMILY SCENES. 147 

ham, rather ruiSed, " 1 am not going to talk of the Bishop's 
lady to Lady Jane Follett ; but, really, what you may see in 
the Times any day cannot be so vulgar." 

" It is not the thing in society, I am sure," insisted the 
daughter, " to talk of people's ladies ; just ask Algernon. 
But, dear Clammy, don't be cross with me," she added, rather 
coaxingly, for Emma could not afford to quarrel with her 
mother just now. 

A slight pause ensued, and then Mrs. Wyndham, who 
seemed to have been musing, and apparently thought it 
good to be appeased, resumed the subject of the dance. 

" I wonder, if we had dancing on a drugget, and just a 
few amateur performers, whether in that case refi eshments 
down-stairs in the dining-room, intermingled with some 
light solidities, would do ?" 

*' I hare an idea, Mama," said Emma; " that is, if Papa 
really will not hear of the regular ball; of course that 
would be a thousand times better." 

" He will not hear of it," said her mother, emphatically* 
" I doubt — I more than doubt — if he will come in to this 
other plan." 

" Well, then, I think it would be a good thing to add on 
a little dance of this sort on the Saturday evening, when 
we are to have our dinner. We need not call it a dance to 
Pappy ; only say we have asked a few refreshers in the even- 
ing. Julia Vincent plays the harp beautifully, and I know 
that M. Dubois, her master, who often goes to accompany 
her in the morning on the piano, is most obliging. He will 
come for a trifle ; and perhaps we can scrape up a violin 
somehow among our friends — let me see — " 

"Well, that is really not a bad idea, Emma," said her 
mother ; " and, being Saturday evening, people will not stay 
so late, so that there need not be anything like a supper." 

" Papjiy's mind, too, will be taken up about the dinner, 
and so he won't think of objecting," added Emma. 

L 2 



148 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" Yes, but when he sees shoals pouring in . . ." observed 
Mrs. Wyndham, again relapsing into doubts. 

" But I would not ask shoals," said the daughter ; " that 
is just it. I would only ask the cream of our visiting list, 
and j ust those near friends one cannot disoblige, and enough 
men : that is a great point." 

" Well, we must see," replied the accommodating mother. 
" Let us look over the list, and dot oflf those who should be 
asked." 

"And we must add on a few more to the party, Mammy, 
just to weed the dance of incumbrances. Not a dowdy or 
useless middle-aged fogie must we have on the Saturday." 

" But, Emma, we shall burst if we ask more on Wednes- 
day." 

" Dear Mama, how tiresome you are ! It was only 
yesterday that you were saying that you were afraid we 
should be very thin, as there are several other parties that 
night." 

' Mrs. Wyndham always wavered between the two opposing 
fears of repletion or attenuation on these occasions ; she 
condescended to laugh, therefore, at the not unmerited 
reproach, and proceeded to discuss the project with her 
daughter. The closeness of the time was objected as a 
further difficulty by Mrs. Wyndham, which Emma, a good 
speci'dl'pieader when her wishes were involved, disposed of 
by saying that this was a positive advantage, as nothing 
else was likely to be started to compete with them. 
^' Besides," she added, " people always like ' impromptus ' 
best ; and the shortness of the notice will prepare them 
not to expect a great set-out in the way of refreshment." 
This she knew was a powerful argument, so she pressed it 
home, and, seizing the happy moment, suggested that she 
and Gertrude should begin writing the "invites." "You 
see, Mama, we avoid the expense of printed cards and 
the formality," 



TWO FAMILY SCENES. 149 

" But I must speak to your father first." 

" O, yes ; before they are sent, of course ; but as we 
must scribble for our lives, in order to be ready to fire 
off at the word of permission, we must set to work at 
once. Now, Gertrude, put away that charming book, and 
come and lend a hand." 

" Suppose your uncle John should have arrived by Satur- 
day week, as I fear he will 1" suggested Mrs. Wyndham, 
with a blank countenance. 

" Well, that will be a bore, no doubt, — an immense bore ; 
but it will be worse at the dinner, where he will be more 
remarked. I dare say he will go to bed afterwards. He 
is by way of being very good, you know." 

" But he is not precise at all. John Sanders takes things 
very simply, my dear, and will think no harm of a little 
dancing, you may be sure. If he is sleepy he will go to 
bed ; but, by-the-bye, where is he to sleep if he is here 
that night ^ The little room we shall want for the cloaks." 

" Dear me. Mama, how many difficulties you conjure up ! 
Surely we could clear the attic for that one night, if it 
comes to the worst, and pack him up there." 

Leaving the party in Berkeley Square in the midst of 
these interesting arrangements, we will intrude for a 
moment on Madame d'Hericourt's quiet boudoir, and listen 
to a few words which passed that same morning between 
Anne and her mother. Both were working, but the former 
was thoughtful, and the piece of embroidery on which she 
was engaged had sunk on her knee. Her mother was 
nearer the window, her face being partially averted. Anne 
was thoughtful, then, and her thoughts did not seem to be 
of an agreeable kind, for she wore an air of perturbation 
unusual on her placid brow. She was, in fact, pondering 
on Pauline's injudicious suggestion with reference to Eustace 
Bochfort, and it had led her to revert to many little 
incidents which had passed unobserved by her at the time. 



150 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

or had been dismissed from her mind. Emma, the reader 
may remember, first started the idea that Eustace n.ight 
be designed for her future husband, and favoured by her 
mother in this capacity. Anne disliked the observation, 
and resented it as an impertinence on the part of Eujma, 
whose levity she referred, however, to thoughtlessness, and 
excused in consequence. But to the remark itself she had 
not attached any importance, though it had caused her 
to feel uneasy and confused, when subjected to Emma's 
scrutiny in Eustace Kochfort's presence. As for the hint 
with respect to Eustace's personal feelings regarding her, 
she had not given it the smallest serious consideration. 
Then followed the acquaintance with Algernon. She 
recalled to mind that her mother did not seem to dislike 
him personally, and never said a word in his disparage- 
ment ; but she now also remembered that she had appeared 
a little touchy and annoyed when a comparison was made 
by Pauline between him and Eustace, to the disadvantage 
of the latter. 

And, after all, was there not some truth in her sister's 
remark that Mr. Rochfort's manner had been changed ever 
since the introduction of this new acquaintance % He had 
certainly been more habitually cold and reserved. Pauline's 
powers of observation were rarely at fault, though the con- 
clusions she drew were not always worth much. But Anne 
was beginning to draw conclusions herself, and to put two 
and two together — sad work when we are framing a bill of 
indictment against any one. She passed on to her mother's 
evident reluctance to entertain an idea of her union with 
Algernon. True, she had given good reasons for postponing 
any engagement, reasons which Anne could not controvert ; 
but was it just possible that, her mother's feelings being 
already embarked in favour of one so unlike him, she was 
unconsciously prejudiced against Mr. Wyndham 1 Anne 
recoiled, however, from suspecting the parent she so much 



TWO FAMILY SCENES. 151 

revered of prejudice, and so she proceeded to cast the mat- 
ter in another form. Her mother desired her marriage with 
Mr. Eochfort ; she knew him well, esteemed him highly, 
and regarded him already in the light of a son — possibly 
believed that she herself was beginning to have that kind 
of preference for him, grounded on esteem and frequent 
association, which would eas'ly lead to a warmer sentiment 
by-and-by, and that the appearance of Mr. Wyndham at 
that juncture, with his brilliant qualities and engaging 
manners, had come to mar these pros) ects, and divert her 
incij^ient preference from a more estimable object, as her 
mother esteemed their young friend to be. And very likely 
her mother thought that there was more of imagination 
than reality in the inclination she had manifested for Alger- 
non ; it was a fancy which time would dispel, and then she 
might revert to her former supposed favourable sentiments 
for Eustace Rochfort. 

But had she ever entertained such sentiments ? Surely 
never ; the thought had never crossed her mind, nor did she 
think she would ever feel disposed to regard him as her pos- 
sible future husband. He was a very good young man, as good 
as gold ; but so was her mother, most exceedingly good, and 
she loved her mother, and did not love him. Certainly 
she would not marry any one who was not good, but a nian's 
being good was not reason enough for marrying him. Why 
should she leave her dearly loved parent, in order to bestow 
herself on ever so worthy a man, if she had no attraction 
towards him? Why marry at all under such circumstances? 
There was no necessity to marry, even in the absence of a 
vocation for religion. Such were the thoughts which passed 
through the poor girl's disturbed mind, thoughts which 
would never have been awakened there, but for the latent 
effect of influences which had been recently brought to bear 
upon her. Anne began now further to reflect whether she 
did not owe it to herself and to truth to be candid with her 



152 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

mother. She was very oandid and truth-loving, and was 
used to lean to her parent in all matters of importance. 
She could not be reserved with her, that was impossible ; 
she must speak. 

" Mama," she said, a/t last, "there is something I so jnuch 
want to say to you, but do not know how." These words 
were uttered in a timid tone. 

" Surely, dear, you need not be puzzled how to say any- 
thing to me ; I am cei'tain to understand you," replied her 
mother, cordially ; but it must be owned her heart beat the 
while. What was the communication that Anne was about 
to make % 

" Well, then, it is just this," resumed the daughter; "I 
never could love Mr. Rochfort." 

Anne had no diplomacy about her. Reserved persons 
seldom have ; when the barrier is levelled, out comes what 
was working within, without disguise, or qualification, or 
preparation. Madame d'Hericourt was truly astounded. 

" What do you mean, my dear Anne] who has asked you 
to love Mr. Rochfort ? Not himself, surely % " 

" Oh, no, indeed ; he never said anything of the sort 
to me." 

" Nor hinted % " 

'' iSTor hinted," rejoined Anne. 

" Then, what do you mean, my child? " 

" I knew you would not understand me." 

" But how should I, unless you are more explicit % Have 
/ ever asked you to love him % " 

" No, Mama," replied Anne ; " but I think you fancy that 
if I marry I could not make a better choice ; and perhaps 
not ; but then — but then — I could not ; T am sure I could 
not ; and so it makes no difference about Mr. Wyndham. 
I mean he is not in the w^ay. Tt would be just the same 
if I had never known him, or should never see him again.' 

Madame d'Hericourt began to have a glimpse of the truth 



rVVO FAMILY SCENES. 153 

now, and it was a painful truth . her daughter suspected 
her of prejudice, and of something very like manoeuvring. 

" Dearest Anne," she rei:)lied, after a pause, " certainly I 
believe there is no one who would make a better husband 
than would Eustace Rochfort, and my intimate knowledge 
of him makes me necessarily place a confidence in him 
which I cannot at once accord to a stranger ; but you may 
trust me that this has not influenced me in the advice I 
gave you about Mr. AYyndham. If your feelings towards 
Mr. Rochfort would have been precisely the same under 
other circumstances, so also would my judgment as to the 
imprudence of any hasty determination -with regard to our 
new acquaintance have been the same in all cases. If you 
think or suspect otherwise, you wrong me." 

Anne now burst into tears, and, throwing herself at her 
mother's feet, buried her head in her lap. It was an 
unusual outburst of feeling on the part of one so calm. 
"Forgive me, dearest mother," she sobbed out; "I was very 
wrong to say this." 

" Not wrong to say it," said the mother, laying her hand 
gently on the fair head, " but a little wrong to think it, 
perhaps ; at least I am grieved that you should have 
thought it. But pray dismiss all such ideas at once. You 
know that it is no desire of mine even that you should 
marry. I wish you to have light to choose your state of 
life. Until you see your way to this choice, it is vain to 
look for guidance as to any ulterior step. You say you 
never could like Mr. Kochfort. Be it so. But remember, 
all this is pure hypothesis, and that God does not give us 
light about hypothetical cases. Besides, do you not, any 
way, my dear, feel it to be a little premature to decide 
such a point as whether you could love a man, before he 
has so much as hinted that he loves you ? " 

Anne looked up, and her face was now suffused with 
blushes. 



154 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

*'You are right, you are always right, Mama," she 
exclaimed, rising ; and then she threw her arms round her 
mother's neck and begged her to forgive her. 

" I have nothing to forgive," replied Madame d'H^ri- 
court, kissing her tenderly. ''And now let us talk no 
more about this subject." 

But if Madame d'Hericourt was not angry with her 
daughter, she was deeply grieved, and as much vexed as a 
mind so well tutored to calmness could be. Truly she 
seemed to have toiled for nothing ; f jr, after all her endea- 
vours and all the precautions she had adopted to shield her 
children from the world, the world had burst in upon their 
quiet home, and Anne was to all appearance on the eve of 
making as unsatisfactory a selection of a partner in life as 
she could well have done had Mrs. Wyndham's opposite 
mode of education prevailed in her family, and her daughter 
had danced and flirted through a London season. Madame 
d'Hericourt, however, soon stilled all peevish murmuring. 
She remembered that, after all, we work for God, not for 
results ; with Him therefore she left them, and soon re- 
covered her usual equanimity ; still saddened inwardly, it is 
true, but no longer disturbed. 

But were things indeed in so bad a case 1 Time must 
show. At any rate this little outbreak of Anne's had been 
so far salutary that she felt humiliated, and almost ashamed 
of herself, for the preference which had led her, for the first 
time in her life, to entertain a reproachful thought of her 
mother. If Eustace therefore had gained nothing, Algernon, 
perchance, had lost a little by what had passed on this 
occasion; at least for the present it had sobered Anne, 
and thrown her back on more serious thoughts, to which 
she now resolved most earnestly, according to her mother's 
desire, to turn her whole mind, committing the future into 
God's hands. 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 155 

CHAPTER XY. 

THE PARTY AND ITS RESULTS. 

Wednesday morning came, with its bustle, anxieties, and 
preparations, in the Berkeley Square household ; and then 
the evening came, with its flutters and dressings and light- 
ings-up. Mrs. Wyndham, in all the pomp of a lavender 
silk gown, trimmed with rich lace — for with all her economy 
the lady always di^essed herself expensively for company — 
was sitting with her two daughters in the front drawing- 
room, lit^tening for the first knock. She did not, however, sit 
for long together, but rose from time to time, and sailed 
about the room uttering her alternate hopes and fears. 

" I hope Algernon will come early," she said ; " he is 
such a help. Oh, there is a knock." 

" It is not his knock," said Gertrude. 

" No, you wiseacre," replied Emma ; " did you not hear ? 
it is a regular footman's flourish." 

" A one-horse fly," observed her mother, peeping out. 

" Oh dear ! not uncle John, I do hope I " exclaimed 
Emma. *" Is there any box or portmanteau, Mama 1 " 

" No ; besides he would have written first. It is a 
lady." 

The dread of an apparition of Uncle John made it almost 
a relief to Emma when an elderly spinster emerged and 
walked upstairs as the first guest. The next arrival was 
of the same character ; persons of that sort always come 
the earliest — at least so said Emma ; and a hint was given 
to Gertrude to draw them on into the room and locate them 
somewhere in not too prominent a situatioD. This was 
whispered while the second spinster was getting out of her 
carriage, and while the first was mounting the staircase, 
after depositing her shawl in the little room below. Emma 



156 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

remained as aide-de-camp to her mother near the door. 
Then Mr. Wyndham made his appearance, and went to 
talk to the ancient ladies, who were old friends of the 
family. 

Algernon was the next arrival. " No one come yet, I 
suppose, mother 1 " he asked, upon entering. 

" Yes ; two old maids, whom I could have spared as first 
arrivals, — Miss Martin and Miss Fortescue," whispered 
the matron ; " Gertrude has taken them into the back 
drawing-room." 

" Well, no matter, mother," replied Algernon, smiling, 
" excellent ladies, both of them ; they are great cronies of 
mine. I shall go and have a little flirtation with them 
before the plot thickens " ; and he moved on. His mother 
looked after him proudly. " How handsome he is," she 
said, "and always so pleasant and cheery ! " 

Algernon certainly was handsome, and the additional 
praise was also deserved. He was, superficially it may be, 
but not therefore insincerely, kind and pleasant to all, old 
as well as young, and was generally popular in conse- 
quence, being liked far better than either his mother or 
Emma, who were both deficient in sweetness. Soon num- 
bers began to arrive, and the room became more than 
sufficiently full, for comfort at least. Emma, after a while, 
being no longer needed, wandered away from the door. 
Having exchanged a few words, as she threaded her way, 
with some of her acquaintance and nodded to others, she 
made for one of the embrasures, where the window was 
partially open, declaring it was very hot. Emma liked 
a window ; unlike most women, she was not afraid of a 
draught, even in her light costume; and then it made such 
a nice corner ; and so a window was always a favourite 
post with her, and was now selected as usual, in spite of 
her late cold. Here she stationed herself and remained 
bandying gay nonsense with one of her partners. 



THE PARTY AND ITS RESULTS 157 

Captain Baines arrived late. This lie did intentionally. 
He knew that his best opportunity for conversation with 
his beloved would be when the room was full. Before 
coming u[)stairs he turned into the refreshment-room for a 
cup of tea. Here Rachel, assisted by Roper and Mary, 
was dealiug out the fragrant beverage. She was in all her 
glory, and, by the help of Captain Raines's half-sovereign, 
considered that she had made herself very bewitching for 
the occasion. She hastened to help her benefactor, and, as 
Roper was engaged in attending to two ladies, and Mary 
was what is vulgarly called " mooning," the Captain ven- 
tured to whisper to Rachel that he was sure she was the 
prettiest girl there, always excepting her young mistress. 

" Law ! sir ; you hav'n't been upstairs yet, so how can 
you know ? " was the damsel's smart rejoinder. But the 
compliment was nearly as good a retaining-fee, if not quite, 
as the money had been. 

Then Captain Baines sauntered up to the drawing-room, 
and stood talking to the mistress of the house for a minute ; 
but her wandering eye proved to him that it was not neces- 
sary to bestow more time upon her just then, so he forth- 
with penetrated into the apartment to look for her who 
was his real attraction. He soon perceived her in the 
window recess, leaning carelessly against the closed shutter, 
and engaged in lively conversation with two gentlemen, 
laughing and showing her white teeth. There were two, at 
any rate, so less cause for jealousy; besides, the Captain, 
who certainly did not underrate himself or the impression 
he made upon ladies, did not dread competition. He had 
soon joined the party, and, after outstaying the two flutterers, 
by-and-by placed his own back against the opposite shutter. 
At first Emma's face wore its usual air of animation, usual, 
at least, in company she liked, but before long an observer 
might have noticed a blush and a conscious look seldom 
observable on a countenance not remarkable for bashfulness. 



158 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

Captain Baines, it might be suspected, was saying some- 
thing more pointed than common. If the truth must be 
told, the Captain had come that evening prepared to be 
'* surprised " into an explicit avowal of his sentiments. 
For reasons best known to himself, he could not well offer 
himself formally and deliberately for acceptance ; but he 
might be betrayed into confessing his love, and flattered 
himself that possibly — probably, indeed — the young lady 
might be equally betrayed into an expression of reciprocal 
affection, and so an understanding might be established 
between them. 

Things apparently had arrived pretty nearly at this point, 
for Emma's eyes were actually cast down, and, when at 
last they were gently raised, they had a very tell-tale look 
in them. But at that moment they encountered the eyes 
of her brother Algernon, who was approaching from the 
opposite side of the room. She was annoyed. Captain 
Baines was a familiar acquaintance of her brother's, if not 
a friend ; but something instinctively told her that he would 
not like such an intimacy as was springing up between her 
and his gay associate ; nor was she mistaken in this surmise. 
Algernon was too quick not to have observed his sister's 
confusion, although she ra2)idly recovered herself, and was 
ready to accost him in a disengaged tone as he stepped 
forward to join them. Algernon was quite master of his 
own countenance, and Baines was assurance personified, so 
that a casual observer would have observed nothing, abso- 
lutely nothing, to indicate what was passing in the minds 
of the trio. 

" Well, old fellow," said the Captain ; " I suppose you 
have just turned up ? " 

" Quite the contrary ; I was nearly first in the field." 
Then, turning to Emma, he said, laughing, " I have 
just been releasing Gertrude from honourable imprison- 
ment on a sofa, barricaded by the wall on one side, 



THE PAKTY AND ITS RESULTS. 159 

and by my father, with an old member of Parliament, 
on the other, busily engaged in discussing the affairs of 
the nation." 

" So like Papa," exclaimed Emma ; *' he has no thought ; 
that is what makes him such a bad chaperon. But how 
could Gertrude have been so stupid as to get entnipped 
there 1 " 

" That I cannot say," replied her brother ; " but at any 
rate the poor girl did not know how to escape, so I made 
a diversion in her favour, by asking her if she would not 
like to go down and have a cup of tea, and thereby ex- 
tricated her. Well, Baines, what are you going to do? 
Not stay here all evening, I imagine." 

" I am only just come," replied the Captain, carelessly. 
This was hardly true ; he had been full half an hour 
ensconced in that window. " I looked in at Mrs. Tre- 
lawney's on the way here, and I think I must just show 
myself at Mrs. Maitland's by-and-by. She often gives me 
a seat in her opera-box. The girls are plain and dull, but 
one owes something to gratitude " ; and the Captain smiled. 
"After doing her, I shall end with the ball at Lady 
Montgomery's." 

"Which is beginning to thin us a little I see," said 
Algernon, finishing the Captain's sentence. 

" Pray do you talk of ' doing ' ns ? " asked Emma, archly, 
as it is called, — an expression of countenance almost 
peculiar, it would seem, to young women, but which all 
young women have by no means at command. 

" Of course he does ; why should he not 1 " said her 
brother. 

Captain Baines only gave a peculiar smile in return, 
and the three, as by common consent, moved from the 
window. 

" Well, I shall be going very soon myself," continued 
young Wyndham. 



160 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" Come along with me, then," said his frieni ; " I have 
my cab here in waiting." 

Captain Baines had lately set np a cab and a tiger. How 
these expensive articles were paid for it would not have 
been easy to divine, for any one who was acquainted with 
the amount of this gentleman's income ; but, to let the 
reader into a secret, it must be known that Frederick 
Baines was one of those rare examples of a fortunate and 
prudent gamester which are to be met with now and then. 
He betted a good deal at races, arid played for high stakes 
at his club, where he was noticed as both a lucky and a 
skilful hand. He was also an adept at billiards. He lost 
occasionally, it is true ; perhaps it might be surmised that 
he allowed himself to lose from time to time for the en- 
couragement of opponents ; any how, his losses were always 
moderate, and his gains large. Gaming was, truth to say^ 
his profession, rather than his passion ; and so he contrived 
to live by it, and to live in a certain style. On their way 
the two intimates talked of some bets which they had in 
contemplation ; at least which Algernon, with the advan- 
tage of Baines's advice, had been thinking of hazarding at 
the approaching Ascot races. 

" I'll tell you what, Baines," said young Wyndham, 
" I think I shall give up this sort of thing. I have no 
luck, do you see, like others, and am risking money and 
something more besides." 

" Whew ! what's in the wind now 1 " ejaculated Baines ; 
<* something more than money ? what is that ? " 

" Reputation," said Algernon, drily. For* him, he was 
at that moment a little out of sorts. 

" Reputation ! " repeated his astonished companion. 

"Yes, reputation in a certain quarter," added Algernon, 
relaxing a little. " I have my reasons, Baines, foi being 
cautious just now." 

" An affaire de coeur, of course ; and something serious 



THE PARTY AND ITS RESULTS. 161 

as its contemplated conclusion," rejoined the Captain. "Well, 
I will not be curious, but wish you all success in your self- 
denying tactics." 

At that moment they reached Mrs. Maitland's door, and 
alighted. No further conversation took place between the 
two friends that night, and neither of them, it must be 
owned, felt much disposed for any more confidential talk 
on that occasion. 

To return to Emma. She was divided between the grati- 
fied state of mind attendant on a declaration, such as she 
had received from a favoured admirer, and a certain uneasi- 
ness in regard to her brother. Algernon had noted some- 
thing, she felt nearly sure. How did he stand afi'ected 
towards the matter 1 Not favourably, she feared. But, 
supposing he had observed and suspected nothing as yet, 
the question must come before him at last, and that, indeed, 
soon ; for Emma, be it remarked, had no intention of reject- 
ing, and, indeed, had not rejected, the ofier made to her. 
That young lady did not like her home, and wished to be 
married ; and then she was, or fancied herself, very much 
in love. Captain Baines might not be rich, yet had he not 
a cab and a buttons ? But, however worldly Emma might 
be — and worldly she was — mercenary views had not as yet 
developed themselves to any great degree in her heart — 
partly, perhaps, because she scarcely knew the value of 
money. She very much liked all that money can purchase 
— dress, amusement, luxuries, — but she took these things 
as matters of course in her station of life, and scarcely 
reflected upon what they might cost. She did not pay the 
bUls, and never looked at the accounts. Her mother talked 
about them ; it bored the daughter, and she thought her 
mother stingy. She and the man of her heart would never 
talk of those things ; and, after all, she wanted so little ; 
80 she said to herself — though no one perhaps wanted more, 
or cared less to forego what she wanted. And then jshe had 



162 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

a vision sometimes of romantic poverty — a cottage with 
verandah and jessamine and roses, and such good household 
bread and milk and cream — Devonshire cream, and straw- 
berries ! How nice with the man one loved ! for even the 
gay ball-going Emma could indulge in such dreams. Cap- 
tain Baines was not much of a man for roses and jessamine, 
yet even he could say a sentimental thing or two, now and 
then, which looked in that direction. 

Yes, Emma intended to carry the matter through. Her 
parents might object at first, but she was sure she could get 
over her mother by persuasion, and her father in the end, 
she hoped, by the help of perseverance and a little grumpi- 
ness. But then Algernon — he must be got over too, 
supposing he took against her, for his opinion was sure to 
be of the greatest weight with her mother. Brothers are 
not always easy to persuade, and, as for her grumpiness, he 
could run away from that. But why should Algernon take 
against her 1 Had he not himself introduced Captain Baines 
to the family? and had he not said he was a "capital 
fellow " 1 Besides, was not her brother deeply indebted to 
her, for the aid she had given him in his own love affair 1 
He could not possibly be so unkind or so ungrateful as to 
thwart her wishes in return. But what was she to do next 1 
The approved plan, she supposed, was to inform her parents 
— her mother at any rate ; and then, of course, the next step 
was for the gentleman himself to come forward and apply 
in person to " Papa " for the ratification of his consent. 
But Emma thought she had best postpone any confidences 
until s^e had seen her lover again. Their conversation 
had been interrupted by the appearance of Algernon ; she 
had best hear first what the Captain had to say on the score of 
circumstances. As yet that matter had not been broached, 
and the affair had not gone beyond its preliminary stage, 
the province of the heart. She would not even tell Ger- 
trude. Gertrude was un sympathizing on such subjects, and 



THE MORNING AFTER THE PARTY. 163 

quite unable to advise. Besides, Emma did not want advice. 
It was the last thing she ever desired or sought ; in fact, 
she considered it usually as a great hamper upon free action. 
And so she resolved to be silent for the present. 



CHAPTER XYL 

THE MORNING AFTER THE PARTY. 

At the late breakfast of the following morning, the party 
of the previous night was, of course, the engrossiDg topic. 
It was considered on the whole to have been a success. 
The room had been full ; the better company had quite 
swamped the dowdy element ; every one had seemed pleased. 
The Duke of Plumpton had come and stayed an hour. 
*' I think that gratified your father," said Mrs. Wyndham. 
The Duke was Mr. Wyndham's political patron. 

*' I don't think much about dukes," replied Emma, " not 
even if they were royal dukes, for the days are gone by 
when the Court gave the ton. Even rank and fashion 
do not always go together now. High rank is well enough, 
but, after all, fashion is the thing. I would rather have 
seen Colonel St. Aubin, for instance, and Lady Manvers, at 
our party than the whole peerage and the whole royal 
family to boot." Those two individuals, it may be observed, 
were amongst the elite of the fine world. 

" But, as we could not have Colonel St. Aubin and Lady 
Manvers," replied her mother, " we must be glad to have 
had his Grace. Surely he is something ; every one could 
not get him." 

" Dear Mama," said Emma, in a provoked tone, though 
M 2 



164 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

pretending to laugh, ''talking of *his Grace' is so like the 
newspapers." 

" I wonder, by the bye whether the party will be in the 
papers already," said the mother, not noticing her daughter's 
impertinence. She took up the paper lying by her on the 
breakfast-table. Underneath was a letter w^hich had re- 
mained concealed by it. " Oh, here is a letter which I did 
not observe," exclaimed Mrs. Wyndham. " How stupid 
of James laying one thing at top of the other ! " 

*' I think you moved it there yourself, Mama, when you 
first sat down," said Gertrude; but her justification of the 
footman was lost on her mother, who was examining the 
address and postmark attentively. 

It was a foreign letter. " Boulogne-sur-Mer," she re 
peated, mechanically. 

" Uncle John ! " exclaimed Emma, " not a doubt of it. 
Dear me, I had hoped to the last something would turn up 
to keep him away." 

" Nonsense, child ! " said her mother, rather tartly ] 
*'you make too much of the thing. Certainly I had rather 
he had not come ; but he is coming, and there is an end 
of it." 

'' I wish there was an end of it, but it is only the be- 
ginning, Mama. And when is he to be herel Of 
course before the dinner on Saturday week." 

" Yes, he will be here to-morrow. Stop ! no — yes — late 
on Friday afternoon. He remains at Dover for some 
business with an agent, and comes on by a late train." 

" The sooner he comes, however, the sooner the visit will 
be over. How long does he stay T' 

" That he cannot quite say for certain." 

" How very uncomfortable ! " ejaculated Emma. " We 
shall not be able even to count the days. The whole thing 
will seem interminable. I shall feel as if I had Sinbad's 
old man on my back. People ought to say how long they 



THE MORNING AFTER THE PARTY. 165 

" Yes, it is a very good rule," replied her mother ;. " but 
after all, a brother, you must recollect, has some right to 
think himself an exception. And now I must say one 
thing, my dear Emma : you will oblige me very much by 
controlling yourself a little when your uncle comes. What 
is the use of making the worst of a bad job 1 It will not 
mend matters, and may do much harm." 

"Of course I am not going to tell him that he is a bore," 
replied Emma. 

" Nor show that you think him one, I hope." 

Emma shrugged her shoulders. 

" He is my brother and your uncle," reiterated Mrs. 
Wyndham ; " and then — and then it is well to remember 
he has no natural heir, except a sickly daughter, who wants 
to go into a convent. Is it right, is it prudent, to disgust 
him now that he feels perhaps drawn to us ] " 

" Heaven forbid that he should be drawn to us 1 " ex- 
claimed Emma, almost gulping down the remainder of 
her cup of tea. " Drawn to us ! you quite frighten me, 
Mama. I should think that, with such a prospect, I paid 
too dearly even if he made me his sole heiress." 

" He is not likely to do that," rejoined her mother ; "but, 
if you do not care for your own interests, you ought to 
have some thought for those of others. You might think 
of your brother Algernon. I am not afraid of your saying 
anything downright rude to your uncle — you could not 
think of doing so, and he our guest ; but I must say, 
Emma, since you drive me to it, that you have a sneering 
way with you, and a hoity-toity manner, when something 
does not just please you, which I find it at times hard to 
bear myself" 

Emma's lip curled, and her countenance wore that 
haughty look which it always assumed when she was 
offended. She was on the point of uttering some imper- 
tinence, but checked herself She remembered how much 



166 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

she miglit very soon stand in need of her mother as a 
friend ; so she could not afford to indulge her temper. 
Swallowing her resentment, then, she even compelled her- 
self to make something resembling an excuse. " I am sure, 
Mama, I am v^ry sorry if I have said anything to dis- 
please you." 

" Well, my dear, never mind ; I am not displeased, only 
annoyed, you see, at all this, as much as yourself," replied 
the placable mother, almost confounded and bewildered by 
the unusual occurrence of an apology from her headstrong 
daughter. 

Mr. Wyndham's entrance cut shoii; the conversation. 

" The tea is nearly cold, Papa," said Gertrude ; " you are 
so very late." 

**Make some fresh tea, of course, for your father," said 
Mrs. Wyndham, who never neglected her husband's com- 
forts at meals ; "ring the bell, Emma ; you are just close to 
it." That young lady had left the table. 

" My love, I want no tea. Just order a little chocolate"; 
and Mr. Wyndham took up the paper. He was out of 
sorts, evidently. Fortunately, consent for the dancing party 
had been obtained already ; and the cards were in process 
of being issued, or prospects would have looked bad for the 
success of an application. " This kind of thing does not 
suit me at all," said the pater-familias, looking up from his 
paper, with a victimized air, at his wife. "■ It does not suit 
me, Beatrice, at all." 

" The hot room has disagreed with you," replied his wife, 
soothingly ; " you will be better after breakfast." 

" I hope so, indeed ; I must be at the House this evening. 
My head aches confoundedly." 

" It must be hot enough there sometimes, I suppose. 
Papa," observed Emma ; " and you often come home very 
late besides." 

" That is quite another thing," said Mr. Wyndham. 



THE MORNING AFTER THE PARTY. 167 

"In fact," rejoined Emma, "you like the one. Papa, and 
do not like the other." 

" I certainly do not like the other," replied the Papa ; 
and he again took up his paper. 

"Bless my soul !" he exclaimed, suddenly ; " Graham is 
dead !" 

" What ! Sir Philip Eagle's friend ? " asked the lady, in a 
voice of dismay ; " and we had asked him to dinner, and he 
was coming, too." 

" He will not come, for certain, now," replied her 
husband. " * Died at his town residence, No. — , Lowndes 
Square, on Wednesday, the 17th, at nine o'clock p.m., 
aged 37, the Honourable Bertram Graham, third son of 
the late Yiscount Graham, and brother of the present 
Yiscount.' No mistake about it, you see." 

" How very sudden and shockiug ! " said Mrs. Wyndham. 

" Yery ; it makes a man look about him to hear such 
things. Why, he is my junior by twelve years !" 

"Don't talk in that way, Percy," said Mrs. Wyndham ; 
" it sets me all of a creep." 

" And if ever a man looked full of life, and apparently 
so enjoying life," continued her husband, " it was Graham ; 
so gay, so lively, so hearty, and as great — a what shall 
I call it ? — gourmet, I believe is the French epithet, as Eagle 
himself." 

" How terrible," said Gertrude, "for a man like that to 
be taken in so sudden a way ! " 

"Of course it is always terrible to die suddenly," said her 
father ; " but if you mean, Gertrude, that Graham was a bad 
man, you are mistaken. There never was a better fellow ; 
and, if something of a hon vivantj I never heard that he 
ate to excess. It was more that he had a discriminating 
taste ; he was not a glutton, that I know of. Good taste 
in eatincf is like taste for music, or anvthing else. A man 
has it, or he has it not. It is a faculty, a gift you may 



168 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

call it, but neither a vice nor a virtue. Keitlier man nor 
woman is the better for not knowing a tough bit of meat 
from a tender, or a well-cooked dish from a heap of 
garbage." 

" I am sure I do not judge him," said Gertrude, meekly. 

"But jonwere judging him," said her sister, sharply; 
"you are always judging people when others praise them, 
and taking their part when they are really in fault. 
Indeed, I think you take their part just that you may 
criticise those who blame them." 

" Come, no sparring, girls," said the father. 

"Well, it is very sad," resumed Mrs. Wyndham; "but we 
cannot help it. It will shock Sir Philip a good deal, 
I suppose. Perhaps he will not dine out so soon : if so, he 
will write at once, of course ; this will put things out 
terribly." 

" Oh, Eagle will come," replied Mr. Wyndham. " I dare 
say he will attend the funeral, but that will be over. He 
will come. There will be a vacancy in the borough o^ 
Staunton-Brackett in consequence of Graham's death," he 
continued. " I suppose his brother will come forward. It 
will be a bore for him, with a dissolution and a general 
election, probably, next year." 

" How are we to till up his place ? we must think of 
that, yon know," said his wife, who had been following her 
own train of thought. 

" Our thinking will not do much good, Beatrice," replied 
her spouse ; " but, I tell you, it is practically a family seat, 
and Albert Graham will fill it, of course." 

" What do you mean *? Oh, we are at cross purposes, 
I see. I mean the seat at our table. He leaves a gap, you 
know." 

"Uncle John will fill it," observed Emma, with some 
malicious pleasure. 

" Oh, yes, I forgot; this death drove it out of my head 



THE MORNING AFTER THE PARTY. 169 

— I have heard from John. He will be here to-morrow 
evening." 

"John Sanders will be here, will he?" said Mr. "Wynd- 
ham, taking from his wife's hand the proffered letter. 
** Well, John Sanders is a very good fellow," he added, 
laying it down when read ; " he will fill Graham's place — 
that is, in a sense." 

" Quite so," said his wife, quickly ; " he will fill his place, 
but not replace Mr. Graham. He was the young and lively 
element in the party, so full of his amusing anecdotes and 
jokes, just what suited Sir Philip." 

" Yes," replied her husband, " he was light on hand, and 
did not go on upon a subject too long, which bores Eagle at 
dinner. I have heard him say so, and that conversation at 
table ought to be like sauce, the flavouring of a dish, just 
.enough to impart a relish. And then he had travelled, and 
so has Eagle ; and they talked over places together which 
they had seen. However, he is dead, so there is no use 
thinking of him now." 

" I am tryiug to recollect if there is any one we could 
ask who would suit," said Mrs. Wyndham. "Dear me ! who 
is there 1 Can you think ot any one, Emma ? " 

" If you want a traveller," replied Emma, " there is 
Mr. Jardine. He belongs to the Travellers' Club, and 
talks ever so many languages." 

" Who is Mr. Jardine ? " asked Mr. Wyndham. 

" Oh, I dare say you have not noticed him," said his wife ; 
"he was here last night, but we have not known him long. 
Captain Baines introduced him to us only the other day. 
He is a great friend of his. I don't think we know him 
well enough, Emma, to ask him to this sort of dinner ; and 
he looks rather grave, too." 

" Captain Baines says he has a great deal of quiet fun 
about him," replied her daughter, "and makes you laugh 
without lauorhing himself" 



170 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

" Captain Baines is that black whiskerandy who has 
dined at some of our large spreads, is he not 1 " asked the 
poor unconscious Papa. 

" The same," replied the equally nescient Mama ; " and 
now, I am thinking, if we ask an additional person we 
must ask two, or we shall be an uneven number, and that 
will not suit the table. Another leaf we must have, which 
just accommodates two more without crowding or sticking 
people too far asunder. Why should we not ask the 
Captain as well ] and if we ask him, Mr. Jardine being his 
dear friend, that would smooth over the difficulty of the 
short acquaintance." 

" Ask Baines ? " said Mr. Wyndham, in a questioning, 
debating tone. " Well, I should have thought he was 
hardly the man — more of a beau for the girls, a kind of 
dancing-dog. " 

" Perhaps not exactly the sort of man, but he is not 
a mere dancing-dog, I assure you," replied his wife. 

*^*He would laugh at being considered a dancing-dog. 
Mama ; would he not 1 " said Emma. " Why, he never 
condescends to dance a quadrille, and only waltzes." 

"He is really a very conversible young man," continued 
her mother, "and has seen much of the world. He has 
travelled a good deal, too, I fancy." 

" He has been to the Mediterranean, I know," said 
Emma, "and yachted about — I think, with Lord Selden." 

*' Eagle is a yachter, or was," rejoined Mr. Wyndham ; 
" so it seems as if he might do well enough — that is, for 
want of a better ; and we must have this Jardine too, 
must we 1 Shall we not be too many, my love ? The 
character of this dinner party does not admit of a great 
number." 

" Only ten," replied his wife, " for Gertrude will not dine 
with us. In so small a party there would be too many of 
ourselves," 



THE MORXING AFTER THE PARTY. 171 

" Just SO," said Mr. Wyndham ; " and ten must be tlie 
outside, or there is an end to general conversation." 

And so it was arranged that Captain Baines and his 
friend were to be asked. 

" T shall write a note to him," said the mother, *' men- 
tioning, also, our wish that his friend should accompany 
him ; and I shall, of course, enclose a card for Mr. Jardine. 
I do not know, indeed, where he lives." 

The girls now left the breakfast-room, and Mrs. Wyndham 
sat on with her husband, who proceeded to say a word or 
two concerning the culinary arrangements. 

"And about the cook, the French cook, Beatrice'? I am 
sure we shall not get on -without a different chef de cuisine 
on that occasion. Have you secured him % You said you 
thought you had heard of a good one from our confectioner." 

*' Yes, and 1 went myself yesterday and settled every- 
thing. M. Pattin will call in the day before to see what 
must be ordered, and come early the following morning to 
preside." 

" Good !" said her husband, pushing away his plate. 
" I have no appetite this morning." 

Mrs. Wyndham had certainly, as she said, secured a 
French cook ; and his name was Pattin. She had a few 
days before reluctantly acceded to Mr. Wyndham's pressing 
desire for getting in a real artist in the cooking profession, 
when he had to entertain at his table the man who was 
reckoned to have the most critical taste in the gastronomic 
line of any lover of good things in London ; but Mrs. 
Wyndham knew that a tiptop performer charged very 
highly for lending his services. She was too crafty, never- 
theless, to urge this objection ; for might not her husband 
retort that he had agreed to the evening party being 
appended to the dinner, which would cost more than 
engaging the best French cook for a month ; that he did 
not himself wish for the party, but he did wish for a first- 



172 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

rate cook 1 Mrs. Wyndham, however, thouglit she could so 
manage matters as to satisfy her husband, and yet meet the 
claims of economy : she would engage a French cook, 
certainly, but she would inquire for one whose terms were 
reasonable. After all, might not such a one really cook 
as well ? There is so much, in a name, and it often covers 
so little. Besides, were not all Frenchmen born cooks 1 
And so Mrs. Wyndham engaged M. Pattin. 

Yet she had a few misgivings. Could Mrs. Bamber 
really recommend him 1 was her reiterated question to that 
respectable dealer in sweet things. 

" Well, Ma'am," replied Mrs. Bamber, thus pushed into 
a corner, " of course, if you want to secure a superior good 
cook, you will do well to engage M. Louis. You are safe 
in his hands, as I ventured to remark." 

" But the charge is frightful, monstrous," rejoined Mrs. 
Wyndham. 

" It is high, certainly," said the imperturbable manu- 
facturer of baked meats, " but he gets it, and is in request 
at all the fashionable houses." 

" He is the fashion, in short ; I understand that," said 
the lady ; " but don't you think sometimes, Mrs. Bamber, 
that when once a man of that sort is the fashion, he is 
a trifle overrated ?" 

" AVell, I am sure I can't say, Ma'am." 

Busy people get tired of irresolutions, and Mrs. Bamber 
was becoming a little weary of being urged to giving it as 
her opinion that M. Pattin, at half the charge, was likely 
as a performer to equal the great M. Louis. Mrs. Wyndham 
perhaps perceived as much ; so, preparing to depart, she 
only added, in a deprecatory tone, " Still, you think 
M. Pattin can send up a satisfactory dinner, a good, 
eatable, and creditable dinner 1" 

" 1 should not have named him, Ma'am, if I had reason 
to think otherwise," rejoined the confectioner; and Mrs. 



THE MORNING AFTER THE PARTY. 173 

AYyndham, conscious slie could extract no more, gave the 
final assent, and left the shop. 

" I hope he will satisfy Papa,'' Emma had obser^'ed, when 
informed of this arrangement. "Perhaps it would have 
been better to get a regular * top-sawyer,' and then, if 
things went wrong, you could not be blamed. Papa will be 
so cross if Sir Philip turns up his nose at his dinner, and 
that will make him dislike the party afterwards still more." 

" But things cannot go wrong," retorted her mother. 
" You are quite safe with a. French cook, and recommended, 
too, by one who is a judge." 

*•' Only recommended as second-best. Mama. Besides, it 
is quite a fallacy to think all French cooks are good per- 
formers. Don't you remember that M. Boussel, who was 
at Grandpapa's at Chiselton one Christmas? I recollect, when 
the housekeeper told him to make a Christmas pie, he flew 
in a passion and said, ' I make pie 1 Pie make itself.' In fact, 
he knew nothing about the matter." 

*' Christmas pies are purely English dishes," replied her 
mother. " How should a regular Frenchman know how to 
make one 1 " 

" Oh, but his soaps. Mama I They were awful ! I wonder 
you do not remember. I used to hear you and Papa com- 
plain of them." 

" Well, my dear," said Mrs. "Wyndham, rather pettishly, 
*' I don't know why you throw cold water on eveiything." 

" I won't throw cold water on M. Pattin's soups at any 
rate," said Emma, laughing ; and then she added, in a paci- 
fying tone, " perhaps, after all, he may be quite up to his 
work ; and at all events he will not be called upon to make 
a Christmas pie." 



174 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

CHAPTER XVII. 

THE LOVER AND THE BROTHER. 

In the course of that Thursday, the day after the party, 
Emma received a letter. It did not come by post, though 
it had a postal stamp upon it. It was presented to her by 
Rachel, who remarked that she had accidentally met Captain 
Baines. " He was going to post this letter," said the hand- 
maid ; " but, when he saw me, he stopped and gave it to 
me, bidding me put it into your hands." 

Emma looked up colouring : " Gave it to you 1 " she 
said. 

" Yes, Ma'am, and you may quite trust me." 

These words (which had been uttered once before) grated 
on the ears of her young mistress, and, with one of her 
haughty looks, she replied, " I really don't know what you 
mean." 

" "Well, it doesn't matter," said Rachel, going away with 
a smile on her face. " Another time I shall know." 

Emma called her back ; she saw that she was in the girl's 
power, and was afraid of making an enemy of one who 
could injure her. " Rachel," she said, " I am not finding 
any fault with you. You did quite right to act as you 
were directed. I only meant, it puzzled me why, and I 
thought — that is, I did not understand," — and then Emma, 
fairly bewildered as to what she should say, gave up the 
attempt to say anything, and, putting the letter in her 
pocket, left the room. 

Rachel remained \dctorious. " She will want me yet, and 
not be too proud to own it," muttered to herself the would- 
be confidante. 

Emma meanwhile put on her bonnet and shawl, which 
lay on one of the drawing-room sofas ready for use, seized 



THE LOVER AND THE BROTHER. 175 

on a novel, and went out to sit in the square. There, on 
one of the benches, and with the Captain's letter on the 
leaf of the open book, she eagerly perused its contents, an 
interesting page in the novel of her own life — three pages, 
Id deed, for there was a great deal in this the first love-letter 
which Emma had ever received. The reader shall be favoured 
with a glance at its contents. 
" My own dearest, 

" May I not call you so after the one precious word 
which dropped from your lips last night, and which has 
made sweet music in my ears ever since ]" — How nice, how 
pretty ! Emma read that line twice over. " Long ago 
should I have manifested those sentiments which I have 
been led to betray prematurely, I know not how — well, no 
matter, you know all now ; indeed you must have known 
it before, but I had restrained my tongue, until I should 
feel myself in a position to come forward to your parents 
and avow myself a candidate for your hand. I must ex- 
plain. I have myself a competence of my own, sufficient 
to meet my own requirements; more, indeed, than sufficient, 
perhaps even what might content us both ; for should we not 
be all in all to each other 1 But fathers and mothers look 
to settlements and prospects, — do they not, dearest? all very 
proper in ])arents. Well, I have large expectations from an 
uncle — more than expectations, I may say, for he has as 
good as declared me formally his heir. You will observe, 
however, that, as these intentions entirely depend on his 
good will, I am bound in discretion, if not in duty, to con- 
sult him when thinking of any serious step in life. He is 
quite able to make a settlement, and I need not say that he 
could but commend my choice ; but the fact of the matter 
is, he is in no hurry for me to marry ; he looks to me for 
everything, leans on me ; and, in short, fancies that if I 
had a wife, he should have me less at his beck, and see less 
of me, and so forth. Old bachelors are like that, you know : 



176 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

tliey have to be humoured. I have no doubt of bringing 
him round by a little diplomacy ; and when he sees my 
Emma, I know he will be almost as much in love with her 
as T am myself. But he has been lately suffering from a 
severe attack of gout, and I have felt this to be an unpro- 
pitious moment for broaching any subject likely to excite 
him. As soon as he is sufficiently recovered, you may rest 
assured I shall lose no time in speaking to hi in. Until then 
it will be wise — will it not 1 — to postpone any application 
on my part to Mr. Wyndham ; and, if I might venture to 
offer advice, I should say that perhaps it might be as well that 
you should not as yet mention even to your mother how 
matters stand between us. But my dearest will know best 
how to act." Then followed a few love passages, which, as 
they would not interest the reader as much as they did 
Emma, may be omitted. 

She closed the jDrecious document, after two or three 
perusals, and consigned it to her pocket. Needless to say, 
the poor girl believed every word it contained. Yet there 
was hardly a syllable of truth in it from one end to the 
other, beginning with the writer's assertion that he had been 
surprised into a premature betrayal of his affection. He 
had an uncle, it is true, an unmarried uncle, who lived 
down in Yorkshire ; but, so far from having reason to enter- 
tain expectations in that quarter, Frederick Baines knew 
very well that his relative considered him as a precious 
scamp, who did him no credit, and whom he never desired 
to see. It was also true that he liked and admired Emma 
Wyndham very much, and meant to obtain her as his wife, 
if he could manage it; and this was pretty nearly all 
there was of truth in the letter. The first step towards 
success in his design was to inveigle her into a private 
engagement ; and this object he may now be said to have 
achieved. Emma had no scruples about concealing what 
had passed from her mother. She had never been in the 



THE LOVEK AND THE BROTHER. 177 

habit of consulting her out of filial duty; she had little of 
respect in her nature, and a slight hold of principles of con- 
duct ; considering the deficiencies of her education, this was 
scarcely surprising. Yet she had a certain aflfectioii for her 
mother, and made her occasional confidences when it suited 
her ; but they were optional confidences, and sb e treated 
her parent as sLe might any other confidant, that is to 
say, she communicated or withheld her little secrets at 
pleasure. On this occasion the confidence would certainly 
be withheld. Emma took a turn round the Square, then 
sat down awhile to indulge in pleasant dreams, and, after 
consuming about an hour in this agreeable occupation, she 
went into the house again. 

In the drawing-room she found no one but her brother, 
who was lolling on a sofa. Somehow she felt sorry to see 
him. " I did not know you were here, Algernon," she 
said, with assumed ease of manner ; "where are my mother 
and Gertrude 1 " 

" I was going to ask you that question myself. I 
thought you were all out together, as I found no one at 
home." 

" They have gone somewhere, I suppose," said his sister. 
" I have been in the Square for the last hour," she added, 
as she threw her novel carelessly on the table. 

*' Dull work, spending an hour in that pen, I should 
think." 

" I took my book ; in fact, I wanted a mouthful of air. 
It was so very hot last night at our party. How did you 
think it went oflf, Algernon ? " 

'' O, all very well, I suppose ; rather too full, of course, 
at one time. What do the old birds say ^ " . 

" Mama is pleased, but Papa seems very piano this 
morning. He never likes parties, you know, and parti- 
cularly a party at home." 

"Because he knows he has to pay for that. At other 

N 



178 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 



people's houses lie, at any rate, puffs and perspires 
gratis." 

" O, Algernon, what a funny notion ! " Emma was 
beginning to get at her ease once more. " Papa was 
shocked too, this morning," she continued, " at seeing Mr. 
Graham's death in the papers. He was going to dine with 
us Saturday week." 

" That made it more shocking, of course," replied Alger- 
non. " I saw his death in the Times myself." 

" And O, Algernon, only think of my forgetting to tell 
you, Uncle John arrives to-morrow ; actually arrives — such 
a bore ! " 

" I don't think he will do you much harm, Emma," 
replied her brother, who again relapsed into a sort of 
absent manner, which she thought she had previously 
noticed, and which gave her some alarm. Was he going to 
say something about Captain Baines, or what % 

He was going to say something, and was turning in his 
mind how to introduce it ; at last he plunged in medias res 
without introduction. " Em," he said, " I wanted to give 
vou just a caution about Baines — I mean you had better 
take care to do nothing that may draw attention. He is 
well enough to dance with, and so on, but just avoid any- 
thing which may look like a flirtation." 

"And why is not Caj^tain Baines as good to flirt with as 
Any other gentleman 1 " asked Emma, colouring. " What's 
amiss with him ? Did not you introduce him to us your- 
self T' 

" Yes, I introduced him ; he asked me to do so. How 
could I well refuse, if he wished it ? " 

" But you said nothing against him at that time. I 
remember you even said he was ' a capital fellow.' " 

" And so he is — only a little fast ; so it will be well not 
to make yourself particular with him." 

" E-eally, Algernon, I don't know what you mean. I am 



THE LOVER AND THE BROTHER. 179 

not aware that I ever make myself particular with any 
one," said Emma, with some temper ; " and how am I to 
go and change my manner suddenly to an acquaintance 
who has given me no offence 1 " 

" My good girl," replied her brother, " I do not want to 
say anything to distress you, or to find any fault with you. 
You really might, and I am sure you must, understand me. 
Neither have I any wish that you should show Baines that 
you desire to avoid him ; but, were I you, I would take 
care not to get into comers with him, or let him get 
you into corners. Surely this is not so difficult. I should be 
very sorry that you were talked of in connection with him." 

Emma was silent a moment, and then said, " But if he 
is so very fast as — all that, why do you make a friend of 
him, Algernon 1 " 

"That is a different thing altogether. He will do me no 
harm." 

" I do not know that," said his sister, " if it is as you 
say ; and, if Captain Baines is so very fast, by which I 
conclude you mean that he is a man of bad character, I 
fancy that a report of your intimacy with him may do you 
no particular good with that rigorous lady, your contemplated 
mother-in-law." This was meant for a telling shot. 

" That is my look-out," said Algernon, with a glance of 
displeasure not often seen on his face. " Besides, I never 
said that Baines was a man of bad character. You know 
very well what I did say, and you have quite wit enough 
to understand me, if you choose. If you do not choose, I 
cannot help it. You must go your own way, and I shall 
go mine. I have meant to do you a kindness." So saying 
he took his hat, but as he was leaving the room he turned 
back, with his hand on the door, and said in his usual 
careless tone, " Tell my mother I shall perhaps dine here 
to-day, and at any rate drop in in the evening." 

Emma stood a moment where she was, and her thoughts 
N 2 



180 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

were not agreeable. Algernon was more her enemy in 
this affair of her heart than she had even feared. What 
was he going to do now 1 Would he caution her mother 
against Captain Baines 1 Was that what he meant by 
goiDg his own way ? Would it not have been better to 
have spoken him fair, and propitiated him ? But she could 
not have done this without giving up her lover, unless she 
had been prepared to play the part of a gross hypocrite ; 
and this was repugnant to her disposition. Nor was she at 
all inclined to give up her lover though she had heard he 
was "fast." Algernon was fast himself, she was sure; 
and perhaps her Frederick was about as fast. But then it 
was only youth and gaiety ; men settled down when they 
married. She did not like slow people ; and her thoughts 
reverted to Mr. Rochfort as her ideal of a slow man. No, 
she never could like a slow man ; and then she took out 
the Captain's letter and read it again. It was very sweet 
to her. 

'•How very much pleasanter," she said to herself, " is a 
lover than a brother ! " and that was about the conclusion 
which Emma arrived at from the morning's incident. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE CAPTAIN AND HIS FRIEND. 

This same Thursday which brought Emma Captain Baines's 
love-letter brought the Captain, later in the day, an invi- 
tation to duiner from Emma's mother. He was sitting 
near the open window of his comfortable lodging in 
Piccadilly — for there are some very cosy lodgings in that 



THE CAPTAIN AND HIS FRIEND. 181 

crowded thoroughfare for those who^do not mind the inter- 
minable roll of wheels, and Captain Baines did not mind it 
in the least. The rooms were of what has been called the 
pianoforte shape ; the second, rather smaller than the 
front one, with which it communicated by folding-doors, 
having inside it a third much smaller apartment. There the 
Captain used to smoke his cigar — with, or without his 
landlady's permission, T cannot say, but I rather think 
without it. Opposite to him at the moment of which I am 
speaking sat another young man, apparently his senior by 
two or thi-ee years. He was less well-looking than the 
Captain, had sandy hair, reddish whiskers, and a coun- 
tenance which said nothing, either in general or in par- 
ticular. He was, in fact, nearly plain, for he had no 
good points, and not quite plain, because he had no 
specially bad ones. The knock of the postman had just 
been heard at the door, and presently the girl came up with 
a letter, which she handed to Baines. 

"Here is something which concerns you, Jardine," he 
said, upon opening it and perceiving the enclosed card, 
which he tossed across the little table between them, and 
then read his own note out loud : — 

'* Dear Captain Baines, 

" Will you dine with us on Saturday, the 27th, to meet 
Sir Philip Eagle and a few other friends — quite a small 
party 1 We shall be so glad if your agreeable friend, Mr. 
Jardine, will accompany you. I enclose you a card for him, 
as I am not acquainted with his address. 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" Beatrice Wyndham." 

" You see, Jardine, you will be expected to make your- 
self agreeable." 

"If I thought so, I would not go," replied his com- 



182 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

panion. *' I hate having to make efforts. I hope, Baines, 
you have not been puffing me off as an agreeable talker. 
Perhaps you did, as an excuse for introducing me the other 
day, as you could not say I was good-looking ; and, if you 
had, there was my face to give a silent contradiction." 

" Xot I ; I think I said you were a great traveller. But 
you will go, will you not 1 " 

" Yes, I shall go, for the same reason that I wished to 
know them." 

" And what was that ? " 

" Well, to confess the truth, I was rather struck with 
the pretty face of one of the girls." 

" The deuce you were ! " replied Baines. " Which ? — for 
they are both pretty." 

"The fair one, the youngest. The other is handsome, 
but she is pretty." 

" I will give you leave to appropriate her, Jardine." 

" By which I su2:)pose you mean that you intend to 
appropriate the other. I saw a little flirting going on." 

" Yes, I mean to appropriate the other, if I can." 

" Seriously ? " 

" Yes, seriously." 

"Well, then, Baines, I must say I think you — what 
shall I say ] — very foolish." 

" You were going to say * a great fool,' " replied his friend, 
laughing; "and, if you were, you are welcome to your 
opinion. Maybe I am, but I suppose every man makes 
a fool of himself once in his life at any rate." 

"To go and hamper yourself with a wife, with your 
tastes and habits and love of independence ! " continued 
Mr. Jardine. " It would be all very well if she were an 
heiress. That would be sacrificing oneself for a consider- 
ation ; but here is a girl with no fortune, I imagine." 

"Well, Jardine, I like the girl. I never liked any 
woman half as much ; and then she is not such a beggar 



THE CAPTAIN AND HIS FRIEND. 183 

as you suppose. Wyndham has no great fortune of his 
own, but Mrs. Wyndham, though, I understand, she was 
not a person of any Lirth, had a good one — perhaps some 
thirty thousand pounds — and I have reason to know that 
her fortune is settled on the younger children. Algernon 
■will only have what his father may be able to leave." 

It may be well here to observe that the Captain was 
entirely mistaken in all this, with the exception of the 
amount of Beatrice's fortune. That fortune, so far from 
being settled on the younger children, had not been settled 
on the children at all. The gentleman, having been mis- 
informed'as to this circumstance, had probably been con- 
firmed in his error by some casual remark of Algernon's 
as to his dependence on his father. 

" But supposing you are correct in your ideas," said his 
friend, '*' you will have to content yourself at present with 
what Mr. Wyndham may choose to give his daughter ; and 
are you sure he would give her a farthing if she set her 
affections on you ? Do you think you could stand the 
parental scrutiny ] I guess not. And as for waiting for 
that same fifteen thousand pounds, of course it is settled 
on the mother first ; and, no doubt, the father would have 
it for his life, if he survived. They are both comparatively 
young, and Mrs. Wyndham, particularly, looks as likely to 
live forty years longer as any woman I ever saw — longer 
than you, Baines." 

"I dare say," repHed the Captain. "All very good 
reasoning, I have no doubt ; but, you see, I am just in that 
mood which does not listen to reason, the sort of mood in 
which Samson was, I fancy, when his father and mother 
gave him such excellent advice, and he only answered, ' Get 
her for me, for she pleaseth me welL' That was all he could 
say, jjoor fellow." 

" I should not have thought you knew so much of your 
Bible. You will have to get her for yourself I suspect. 



] 84 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

She is under age ; so, if you fain will tie yourself to her, 
you must persuade her to run away with you." 

" So I am thinking," replied the Captain coolly. " Come, 
Jardine," he added, after a pause, " let us smoke a cigar" j 
and the two companions adjourned to the inner-room, 
where Baines became more confidential, as Jardine dropped 
playing the part of monitor, and had soon acquainted 
him with the exact position of affairs between him and his 
ladylove. 

The little incidents of this Thursday which have a bear- 
ing on our story are not yet exhausted ; so we must now 
return to Berkeley Square, and listen to another scrap of 
conversation. 

Algernon had said he would dine with his parents or 
drop in in the evening, but he really intended to drop 
in some quarter of an hour before the dinner-time, when he 
should probably find his mother alone, who generally came 
down first. The girls were almost always late, putting off 
going up to dress to the last minute. He found his mother, 
as he expected, and, after affectionate greetings, Mrs. Wynd- 
ham began naturally to speak of the party. 

"Yes, it went off capitally," replied her son. "I looked 
in at Mrs. Maitland's afterwards, and certainly we bore away 
the palm here." 

" I wish, Algernon, you had been able to dine with us," 
said his mother, " on Saturday week." 

'' I really do not believe my father wanted me," he 
replied. " I cannot endure that impertinent epicure, Eagle, 
and my father knows I cannot. Besides, I am engaged 
now. Of course I shall come afterwards. By the bye, 
mother, there was something I just wished to say to you — 
it is only for your private ear. It is about Emma : there 
appeared to me to be something of a flirtation going on 
between her and Baines the other night. Don't you think 
you could quietly check this sort of thing ? " 



THE CAPTAIN AND HIS FRIEND. 185 

" 'Emma, will flirt — I cannot help it," replied the mother; 
** but she flirts with so many that it is of less consequence. 
People see that nothing is meant. She is very lively, and 
it passes my powers to restrain her." 

*' But I am not so sure that something is not meant this 
time. She shows Baines a marked preference, I should say; 
and that would never do." 

" Do ! No, indeed ! T never thought of such a thing, 
Algernon," exclaimed Mrs. Wyndham. " You quite frighten 
me." 

*' Don't alarm yourself, mother; it is not so bad as all 
that. I did not fear that Emma was thinking of marrying 
Baines, or, indeed, Baines of marrying her ; but, you see, 
he is what the world calls a fast man, and he has not got a 
penny to make up for any demerits. A regular flirtation 
with a man of that sort is a disadvantage to a girl, if it was 
only that it keeps better people off"." 

"I quite see that danger with Emma," replied his mother ; 
" but she will not hear a word on the subject. I must say, 
however, that T never observed anything particular in the 
case of Captain Baines, who really has seemed to talk to me 
as willingly as to the girls ; and I have found him very 
pleasant and conversible, I must say." 

*' So he is," said Algernon; " still he is just that sort of 
man who, if he got intimate, would stand in the way of 
Emma's marrying ; and she is just the sort of girl who 
would allow him to do so." 

" I see. Emma, in fact, has a horror of being supposed 
to have an eye to money ; and this makes her often quite 
chufi" to acquaintance who might be suitable matches ; and 
she will positively chill them ofi" and flirt with some whip- 
per-snapper, to show them, and me too, that she is not 
thinking of them." 

"A standing flirtation, like this with Baines, just comes 
to hand conveniently for that purpose," said Algernon ; 



186 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" that is about what I mean." He did mean a great deal 
more, but did not wish to betray the amount of his fears — 
" Any way," he continued, " it would have been better, 
mother, to have left Baines in his place as a ball and party 
acquaintance ; it was only as such that I introduced him, 
and he does well enough for that, for he goes everywhere. 
But, you see, you have asked him to dinner more than once, 
and this leads to a sort of intimacy of which he avails him- 
self at other times ; and this is by no means desirable.*' 

" And I am sorry to say I have asked him to dinner again 
for the Saturday. Mr. Graham's death left a vacancy, and 
we could think of no one else." 

*' That is unfortunate," said Algernon. 

" And I have asked his friend, Mr. Jardine, also," added 
Mrs. Wyndham. 

*'What ! Jardine 1 asked Jardine, mother ] I am sorry 
for that, indeed. Why did not you consult me first ? I saw 
him here the other night, but supposed he had only got a 
card through Baines. He is not at all a man to cultivate ; 
a regular blackleg, Jardine is." 

*' Oh, dear ! what shall I do ? " exclaimed his mother. 
" Don't tell your father, Algernon." 

*' I will not say a word to my father." 

" And is Captain Baines a blackleg too *? " 

" Oh, mother, you do so run away with a thing ! There is 
no harm in Baines ; he is a gay sort of man, and all that, 
but he is no disgrace to any company." 

'' But the other is ! " 

•* Not so fast, mother ; you do go so fast, and jump to 
such conclusions. Jardine is not so bad as that either, but 
he is not so nice a fellow as Baines. He is a great deal on 
the turf, and lives mostly with persons who have the same 
pursuits. He is not one whom I am tempted myself to get 
intimate with ; so, of course, he is hardly fit for an inti- 
mate of yours. But I dare say he is quite as respectable, 



THE CAPTAIN AXD HIS FRIEND. 187 

morally speaking, as that fellow Eagle ; only Eagle lias 
money and position, and this poor devil, Jardine, has 
not." 

*' What can I do now 1 " said Mrs. Wyndham despair - 
" Why, nothing at all, mother ; only do not ask him 
again ; nor Baines either — this season, at any rate. And 
now, don't betray me, or Em would take it unkindly ; and 
please do not look as if I had been telling you some awful 
secret. Emma is as sharp as a needle, and will suspect 
there is something wrong." 

Mrs. Wyndham, accustomed to obey her son, made an 
effort, and smoothed her brow, as the girls entered. Alger- 
non had risen, and was standing on the rug looking perfectly 
disengaged, so that there was nothing in the behaviour of 
either to awaken any active suspicion in Emma's mind. 
Mr. Wyndham was absent, having gone to the House, and 
the evening went off, externally at least, with ease and 
cheerfulness ; but none of the pai-ty were well at ease inter- 
nally. Mrs. Wyndham had, so to say, several pins sticking 
in and pricking her. This communication of Algernon's 
concerning Emma pricked her very sharply, not to speak of 
the annoyance of having asked a questionable character 
to dinner. What if Mr. Wyndham should get a hint in some 
quarter or other of Mr. Jardine being a blackleg 1 She 
had asked a blackleg to dinner — Mrs. Wyndham hardly 
realized how much might be implied in that term, but it 
was very horrible ! And the dinner itself — she was not 
without uneasiness on that score. What if M. Pattin 
should prove a second Roussel in abilities 1 Better have 
trusted to Tyrell, which indeed, she would herself have 
much preferred. The dancing soiree, again, would probably 
cost more than anticipated, certainly more than her hus- 
band anticipated ; and he would be proportionally dis- 
satisfied. And for what purpose would all this expense 



188 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

have been incurred 1 Perhaps only to give Emma an 
additional opportunity for flirtation with the gay Captain ! 
Add to these various subjects of annoyance the prospect of 
her brother John's arrival the next evening. For truly the 
thought of this visit was as unpleasant to her as it was to 
Emma, although prudence, not to say propriety, bade her 
put as good a face upon the thing as she could, since it was 
inevitable ; and worldly wisdom had even suggested the 
notion of turning the infliction to some profitable account. 
Still she disliked the thought of the visit mortally. 

Yerily, Mrs. Wyndham's state of mind was far from 
enviable. Compared with it Madame d'Hericourt's mental 
disturbance, even at its worst, was peace. She, at least, 
could take her troubles to God, and seek relief and consola- 
tion where they are always to be found. Such an idea never 
occurred to Mrs. Wyndham, poor soul ; and her troubles, 
indeed, were generally of that worldly character which 
renders them rather obstacles than incentives to prayer. 
Yet Mrs. Wyndham did say her prayers, luorning and 
evening ; and, if some calamity had overtaken her, I 
believe she would have sought resignation and patience 
from Heaven. 

Algernon, with all his carelessness of temper and natural 
cheerfulness, was worried ; and worry bored him. He was 
worried because his own love aff'air was at a sort of dead 
lock ; and he was worried at his sister's flirtation. He was 
also worried not a little at having cumbered himself with 
an intimate who had himself intimates of doubtful reputa- 
tion. Emma spoke the truth when she suggested that 
Madame d'Hericourt would draw unfavourable conclusions 
if coguizant^of this fact — " Dis moi qui tu hantes" &c., as 
the French proverb says. And then Anne was very un- 
like Emma ; she would, he was sure, follow her mother's 
leadings like a lamb ; she would cast him off*, and, no doubt, 
end by marrying " that chap with the repulsively sensible 



THE CAPTAIN AND HIS FRIEND, 189 

countenance." Algernon hated Eustace Rochfort, as lie 
thought of this climax, and Frederick Baines almost as much, 
at whose door he laid these not improbable calamities. 

Emma had her own inward discomforts. She saw 
through the superficial cheerfulness of her brother, and 
perceived he was not in his best humour. He was the 
same to her as usual outwardly, but she was sure he had 
not dismissed the morning's conversation from his memory. 
Her own affairs had almost driven Uncle John out of her 
head, but not quite ; and as his impendiDg visit flashed on 
her recollection occasionally, the prospect added discontent 
to uneasiness. Even Gertrude, though she had no sj^ecial 
subject of anxiety of her own, was depressed. Emma had 
been lately in an uncomfortable state of temper — alternately 
in excited spii-its and in a snappish mood ; and Gertrude 
had had to bear the brunt of all. Then the frequent 
family discussions about trifles were distressing to her 
gentle nature. She was out of place where she found her- 
self. She was one who wanted guidance, and would have 
desired it ; but though by no means of a contemptuous 
disposition, she had a keen sense of the evil existing in 
others, and was very much alive to the faults of those with 
whom she was brought in contact. Hence she held very 
cheap any such guidance as she could receive at home, and 
lived apart with her own crude ideas ; keeping peace with 
all, but harmonizing with none. Such an attitude told od 
her spirits very often, for her spirits, save when enlivened 
by amusement, were not naturally high, and this evening 
they had fallen below the usual mark. The fatigue and 
heat of the previous night — for Gertrude was not strong 
— had their share in lowering them, no doubt ; but, at any 
rate, so it was. She was very low, and took no trouble to rouse 
herself, leaving the conversation to the other three, who were 
always well able to keep it up without her assistance, and 
allowing herself to think of other things — a bad, because 



190 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

selfish habit, in company, unless practised, as it may be 
sometimes, from higher motives than, it must be confessed, 
actuated poor Gertrude. 

The evening was not prolonged. Algernon left early, 
promising to dine the next day, in order to meet his uncle. 
After he was gone, Mrs. Wyndham yawned, and said she 
was sleepy ; the girls were the same ; so, all being agreed on 
that point, they retired for the night ; and thus closed the 
eventful day after the party. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

UNCLE JOHN. 

It is now about half past six in the afternoon of the 
following day ; and when wheels pass through the Square 
ears listen and eyes peer out of the window. If it be a cab, 
it is watched : does it contain John Sanders ? No, it does 
not ; it passes on. 

" I have ordered dinner at our usual hour," said Mrs. 
Wyndham : that hour was half-past seven in summer. 
^' John is sure to be arrived by that time ; and I shall go 
and dress now, to be ready. Try and be down, girls," she 
added ; " we had best be all here to . . . to" — she was going 
to say ^' welcome," but it stuck in her throat — " to receive 
him." And Mrs. Wyndham did dress, and was down in 
the drawing-room by a quarter-past seven. 

After a while she was joined by her husband. " Well, 
Sanders ought to be here by this time," he said; "where 
are the girls 1 They are never punctual." 

" I begged them to be so to-day," replied his wife. " Oh, 
here they are ! " 



UNCLE JOHN. 191 

" It is close upon half-past seven," said Emma, as slie 
entered. " 1 think he " — she did not like calling the expected 
individual her uncle more often than she could help — 

" I think he must have missed the train. If so " 

Thy wish, Emma, was father to that thought : but be- 
fore she could complete her sentence a cab drew up at 
the door. 

Mr. Wyndham went down-stairs, and his wife hastened 
to the window. " Yes, it is John," she said, " grown bigger 
and older," as a burly figure emerged from the cab, and 
a shabby portmanteau, which looked as if it had seen 
much service, was dragged down from the top by the cab- 
man, whom the new-comer waited to pay. 

Mrs. Wyndham hesitated a moment, and then thought it 
well to follow her husband, and go as far, at least, as the 
landing-place to welcome her brother. He had already 
received a cordial shake of the hand from Mr. Wyndham, 
and Mrs. Wyndham played her part as well as could 
be expected. She descended the first flight, and greeted 
him with a kiss, accompanied by a respectable show of 
sisterly affection. 

Meanwhile the two girls had lingered behind. "I 
suppose," said Emma, '*we are not expected to rush out 
into his arms ?" 

" We must kiss him, of course," replied Gertrude. 
" I am sure / shall not kiss him," said her sister. " What 
he may do I cannot help." 

At that moment the objectionable uncle entered, and 
stood in his proper person before them. " So these are the 
two little girls, Beatrice," he said, as Mrs. Wyndham called 
them forward ; " well-gi'own lasses now." Uncle John 
had not varied his epithets in these past twelve years, it 
will be seen, and he proceeded to bestow a hearty kiss on 
each of his nieces. " Of course I should not have known 
either of them," he continued ; " as for you, Beatrice — yes, 



192 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

I should have known you ; you wear veiy well, I must say, 
but are grown uncommon lusty." 

" My wife will not like to be called lusty, I can tell you," 
said Mr. Wyndham. 

" What's amiss with the word 1 well, stout, then, if she 
prefers that, but lusty gives it better. She is spread, and 
filled out," and he made a gesture expressive of expansion. 
"I am grown lusty myself; and I can tell you," he added, 
" I am precious hungry ; of course you have dined ; but some 
bread and cheese will do very well for me ; nothing better." 

" My dear fellow, we do not keep your Sicilian hours ; 
we are going to dinner immediately," said his host ; " so 
Beatrice had better show you to your room. Don't think 
of dressing." 

" All riffht ; you will take me as I am ; that will suit me 
best. I will just wash my hands." 

"You won't dislike, I hope, being on the ground floor," 
said his sister; "but we have unfortunately so little spare 
accommodation." 

" Not a bit ; indeed, I prefer it ; it saves legs, I hope 
I have not inconvenienced or put you out in any way V 

" Not in the least," said Mr. Wyndham, " we are very 
glad to see you here " ; and he and his wife proceeded to 
escort the guest down to his apartment. 

On the stairs they met Algernon, just arrived. He was 
duly introduced, and behaved very well, as he always did. 
He was not troubled with Emma's fastidiousness, though 
he had full as good, not to say better taste than his sister, 
and he had far more good-nature. So this kind of thing 
came very easy to him. 

" Well, Algernon," said Emma, as he entered the drawing- 
room, "what do you think of him ?" 

" Of our uncle ] why, I had but a glance at him. He 
has got a broad, good-humoured, bold sort of face, with 
a dash of shrewdness, and a few smallpox marks. That 



UNCLE JOHX. 193 

is about what I noticed. What do you say '? for you saw 
more of him, I suppose. Does he fulfil your expectations, 
Em?" 

" Pretty nearly. He is very like some one, I cannot 
think who — O, I know ! he is like caricatures I have seen 
of Dan O'Connell." 

" He would consider that a compliment, I expect," 
replied Algernon. 

" Something between that and a jDrize- fighter in appear- 
ance, I should say." 

" O dear ! " said Gerti-ude ; " I am sure he looks very 
kind and amiable." 

" Do you know, Algernon," continued Emma, without 
taking any notice of her sister's remark, " he told Mama 
she was grown lusty. She did not like it, I can tell you." 

Algernon laughed heartily. 

At this moment Mrs. Wyndham reappeared. Oh, wha+ 
is this nasty smell in the room ] " she exclaimed. 

"It is my uncle's boots," said Emma ; " cheap blacking 
smells like that ; I observed it at once." 

" The smell of blacking always makes me sick," said Mrs. 
Wyndham. 

" It has the same eflfect on Gertrude," said Emma. 

" It is really pestiferous," continued her mother. " Burn 
a pastille, Emma ; do." 

" With the help of that, mother, I hope you and Gertrude 
will not faint," said Algernon ; " but I am afraid the mix- 
ture won't improve matters." 

" And then my uncle will come back with his boots to 
refresh the smell," added Emma ; "for he is not to dress." 

" But he is going to change his boots ; I heard him say 
so," replied Mrs. Wyndham. 

" That is a comfort, at any rate," said Algernon. " Bat 
a lusty dame like you, mother, ought not to be so delicate." 
Mrs. W^yndham could not help smiling. Her darling son 

o 



194 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

had always the power to restore her good humour. " Well, 
it is better to be lusty than skinny," he continued ; " and my 
uncle, doubtless, uses the word in the old English sense, 
when it certainly meant nothing uncomplimentary." 

John Sanders had soon finished his toilet arrangements. 
Dinner was announced, and the party descended to the 
dining-room. 

It will be remembered, or perhaps it will not be remem- 
bered, that it was Friday. " This is the best sou2)e maigre 
I ever ate," said the worthy John, noisily supping it up, 
like a hungry man as he was ; and then he committed the 
solecism, in Emma's eyes, of being heljDed a second time. 
To her surprise, her brother followed his uncle's example ; 
probably, as she concluded, from the good-natured civility 
habitual to him, and in order that his uncle might not be 
left to eat alone. 

" Yes, it is not a bad soup by any means," he said ; "you 
would scarcely know it was a soupe maigre.^' 

" Yerj few English cooks know how to make a vegetable 
soup with any flavour in it," rejoined the uncle, 

** Ours is certainly not a French cook," said Mr. Wynd- 
ham, laughing. 

" But really she is not a bad performer, as I often say," 
observed his wife. 

" Yes, my dear ; you do say it very often ; begging your 
pardon, I am almost tired of hearing you say it." 

" The proof of the pudding is in the eating," said Sanders. 
" She can certainly make a good soup." 

" And she is such a good woman," added Gertrude. 

" That is not much to the purpose," retorted Mr. Wynd- 
ham ; ^'many excellent women are very indifferent cooks." 

" But I do not know about its being nothing to the 
purpose, father," interposed his son. *' Cooks, not seldom, 
drink^ and are dishonest ; so the moral character is some- 
thing." 



UNCLE JOHN. 195 

" But Gertrude means a great deal more than that," said 
Emma ; " she thinks we have got a saint for a cook." 

" Indeed ! " exclaimed her uncle. " I think I must visit 
your kitchen department, and make acquaintance with this 
treasure to-morrow." 

" I don't at all mean, Beatrice, that Tyrell is a bad cook," 
said Mr. Wyndham, who was afraid he had annoyed his 
wife, and, to do him justice, was always sorry if he suspected 
that he had done so ; *' only sometimes not quite up to the 
mark." 

The re-entrance of the servants cut short the conversation. 
When there was only a family party Mr. Wyndham did not 
like much waiting at table. A wire passed under the 
carpet from the table to the bell, so that he could ring 
when the courses had to be changed, or when anything was 
required. I do not think the servants liked the plan. 
They said it gave them quite as much trouble, or more j 
and then — they did not hear the conversation. But this 
was precisely the object of the master of the house, who did 
not like being put out of his way, and grew tired of being 
told afterwards of indiscretions he had committed, and of 
hearing significant scrapes of the throat from his wife, of 
which the butler and the footman knew the import as well 
as he did himself. 

The fish was done as much justice to by the hungry 
traveller as the soup ; and then some cutlets were taken 
round, to which Mr. Wyndham helped himself. 

" Hollo ! Wyndham ; it is Friday ! " shouted his guest. 
" What are you about ?" 

" He has got a dispensation," muttered his wife, in an 
uneasy tone. 

" Yes, I have got a general dispensation," added Mr. 
Wyndham, smiling carelessly. He did not say, as he might 
have said, that he took it himself; for, if truth must be 
told, he had never asked for a dispensation; nor, indeed, 

o 2 



196 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

had lie the smallest grounds for making such a request. 
His health was good, and he was as strong as most people ; 
yet it was a well-understood thing in the house that 
Mr. Wyndham never abstained. No questions were asked, 
and the fact had ceased to attract attention. 

John Sanders eyed him and then eyed his sister. "And 
have you a dispensation too, Beatrice 1 " he asked. 

" Oh, no, we abstain ; that is, Emma and I do always. 
Gertrude has been ordered meat. The doctor says it is 
essential for her." 

" That is all right," rejoined the uncle; " that is all right, 
in one sense. I am sorry she is not strong. It has been a 
great trouble to my Teresa not to be able to fast, nor even 
always to abstain." 

" We were so sorry to hear she was so delicate," said his 
brother-in-law. " Come, you are drinking nothing, Sanders ; 
what wine do you like after your soup 1 Sherry 1 " 

" No ; that's too strong for me." 

" Then I can recommend you some of my hock ; it is 
excellent." 

" No, I tliink I shall stick to my own manufacture and 
constant beverage, Marsala ; no better stomachic than that. 
Here's to your better health, Wyndham " ; and he nodded 
and winked at his host. 

" Thank you, Sanders, but I don't think there is much 
amiss with me." 

Mrs. Wyndham felt fidgety : why did her husband say 
that ? John Sanders was a strict Catholic ; why scandalize 
him unnecessarily by not accepting the implied excuse of 
health? Mrs. Wyndham was also dreading the further and 
more pernicious scandal of Algernon's probable transgres- 
sion of the Church's precepts. For him there could not 
possibly be any excuse ; nevertheless the son was in the 
habit of availing himself of the same species of dispensa- 
tion as was the father. He seldom, it is true, dined with 



UNX'LE JOHN. 197 

his family on Fridays, but his mother had noted the fact, 
though, in her weak indulgence, she had refrained from 
making a comment or asking a question. When she begged 
him to come and meet his uncle, she had forgotten the day ; 
for, anxious as she was that her son should make a favour- 
able impression in that quarter, she would have considered 
that more harm would be done by obtruding his religious 
neglect on her brother, with whose strictness she was well 
acquainted, than good by the personal attention paid to him. 
However, to her surprise and relief, Algernon declined the 
cutlets. But there was a j oint on the side-board ; perhaps 
he had an eye to the solider dish. Xo, he had no such in- 
tent ; he had evidently dined, so far as the first course was 
concerned, and his credit was saved with his uncle, of which 
Mrs. Wyndham was just then chiefly, or, rather, exclusively 
thinking. 

Algernon, however, had no such view. It is difficult to 
define the motive which actuated him, for it had no refer- 
ence to any human eye fixed on him at that moment ; 
neither was it of the supernatural order. It rather belonged 
to a species of reform which he felt urged to make in order 
to recommend himself to his beloved and to her mother ; 
a reform which he felt was incumbent upon him if he would 
entertain a chance of success. The same feeling which 
made him instinctively desire to loosen his ties with men of 
Captain Baines's stamp, led him to return externally to a 
certain respect for his religious obligations. This was not 
all hypocrisy and sham on his part, nor did it proceed solely 
from the desire to rehabilitate his reputation ; for neither 
Madame d'Hericourt nor her daughter would ever hear if 
he bad partaken of meat on that particular Friday. In 
short, he was so far sincere that he contemplated making a 
real change of some sort, but of what sort was not very 
clear in his mind ; for Algernon, be it said, was not much 
given to self-scrutiny. Still, the good and the beautiful 



198 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

shone so sweetly in the object of his afifections that, without 
reasoning on the subject, he was under their spell and 
attraction to a certain degree, and so he refused the proffered 
cutlets, and ignored the leg of lamb smoking on the side- 
table. 

The dinner went off without any further annoyance. 
Mr. Wyndham talked to his brother-in-law of wines, of du- 
ties on the same, and other commercial subjects with which 
Sanders w^as well acquainted. When the wine business was 
exhausted, other general topics were broached, upon which 
the uncle, homely as he might be, was able to give an in- 
telligent and sensible opinion. The conversation was not 
such as peculiarly interested Algernon, nor were the subjects 
discussed such as were to him very familiar, but he could 
generally contrive to say something on whatever subject 
might be started, and he took his fair share in the task of 
entertaining his uncle. Mrs. Wyndham had never got ovei 
the observation on her appearance, and had been further 
ruffled by the incident of the cutlets, but she constrained 
herself, and put in her word from time to time, as in duty 
and hospitality bound. Emma did not constrain herself ; 
her mother had begged her not to be rude to their guest 
and near relative, and she was not rude ; but she was silent 
and sulky, and unlike herself. Gertrude never made any 
further observation after the one quoted. She seldom gave 
herself much trouble to talk, if not inclined, but then she 
always looked amiable ; and, if her heart was sad, her 
countenance was not cloudy ; her youth also might be 
reckoned to exonerate her from taking an active part in 
conversation. 

The gentlemen did not sit very long after the ladies had 
retired ; then followed sipping of tea and coffee and a little 
desultory talk. 

" With your good permission, I think I shall go to bed 
early ; I have had a long day of it," said the uncle. Ready 



UNCLE JOHN. 199 

permission was of course accorded. " What's your nearest 
church ? " 

'' Catholic 1 " asked his sister. 

" Why, yes ; I am not turned Protestant, Betty." Betty 
was the familiar name by which the child had been called 
in the old days under the paternal roof, but the revival of 
it touched no tender chord in the matron's heart — she did 
not like it. 

" We go to Farm-street," she replied ; "it is very 
near." 

" So much the better ; and the hours of mass 1 " 

"On Sundays? but to-morrow is Saturday." 

" Bless your heart ! I know that ; I mean the week-day 
hours." 

^' You are surely not thinking of going to-morrow, John; 
and just off your journey and tired V 

" But I was thinking." 

** There are several masses on week-days," said Gertrude. 
" Tyrell always goes to the earliest, which is at seven ; she 
is my authority." 

" Then you don't go yourselves ? " 

" Not regularly," answered Mrs. Wyndham, in a hesi- 
tating voice. " You see the hours do not suit, and the 
breakfast, and all that ; just at this time of year, too, 
we are generally out so late." 

" But this blessed London season does not last all the 
year round 1 " 

'' No, it does not last all the year round," repeated she, 
mechanically, after her brother. 

Emma, we have seen, was not in good humour, so was 
seized with a wish to be frank, because at that moment frank- 
ness would be unwelcome. " The fact is," she said, *' we do 
not go to mass on week-days, except occasionally in Lent." 

" I should like to go," said Gertrude, taking courage to 
make a faint protest. 



200 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" My dear," said lier mother, " you know you are not 
strong enough. It is nonsense talking like that." 

"And] Emma?" asked the tii-esome uncle ; " I think, my 
girl, ^ou look stout and strong enough." 

" Well, I don't go except when Mama goes ; that is all 
I can say." 

" Gertrude is inclined to go and cannot," said Algernon, 
laughing ; " and Emma could go, but is not inclined — that 
is about the state of the case ; is it not ? " 

" Thank you, Algernon," replied his sister ; " but I never 
commissioned you to report my inclinations. I can speak 
for myself. However, I certainly am never inclined to go 
out before breakfast ; when I have to do so, it disagrees 
with me." 

" I think, then, that it comes to this," observed Uncle 
John, poking the wick of his just-lighted fat candle : 
" there is a ' lion in the way ' as respects you all." 

'* A what 1 " said Mrs. Wyndham. 

" Don't you know the Scripture proverb about the sloth- 
ful man and the lion ? Well, I fear, there may be a lion in 
the way for me to-morrow ; for I feel as if I should take a 
long snooze when once I get my head on the pillow. So 
good-night to you all. What's your breakfast hour 1 " he 
inquired, turning back, with his hand on the door. 

" Suppose we say nine, or a little after, to-morrow, as we 
are so early to-night," said his sister. 

" All right," replied her brother, as he closed the door. 

" John Sanders is a very good fellow," observed Mr. 
Wyndham, as soon as the creaking of his shoes betokened 
the descent of his guest to the ground-floor; "but I suppose 
he is a bit of a bigot." 

"He is very strict, I fancy," said Mrs. Wyndham. "I 
remarked that he was so when he was over here twelve or 
thirteen years ago. I have an idea that his wife led him that 
way. I never saw her, but have heard she was very good 



UNCLE JOHN. 201 

— quite like a Sister of Charity ; and the daughter takes to 
the same line, it seems." 

" I don't mind how good people are, so long as they 
don't meddle with me," said her husband, who had sub- 
sided into an arm-chair to discuss the dregs of his morning 
paper. 

" I should not like to be meddled with either," observed 
Algernon, " or preached to ; but I must say I like a woman 
none the less for being more religious than myself. Piety 
certainly becomes a woman ; when it is not stiff or cen- 
sorious, I mean." 

" And perhaps," said Emma, a little slyly, " some women 
become piety not a little, and recommend it as much as it 
recommends them." 

To this allusion Algernon did not vouchsafe a response. 
" Well, mother, I think I shall take myself off now," he 
said : "and perhaps I shall look you up in the course of 
to-morrow." 

The fond parent begged he would do so, and he de- 
parted. 

" I think Anne d'Hericourt is makinor a convert of Alger- 
non," observed Emma ; "or, at any rate, he is in process 
of qualifying himself for the situation of son-in-law to 
Madame." 

" Do you mean," asked her father, looking up from his 
paper, " that that fellow is thinking of marrying the tall, 
fair girl I saw the other day ? " 

" He might do worse," said Mrs. Wyndham. " She is a 
nice girl, the family is good, and there must be some 
money." 

"Yes, he might do worse, certainly," replied her hus- 
band, " and I dare say will do worse ; but he has as much 
chance of marrying Mademoiselle d'Hericourt, I should 
think, as I have of being prime minister." 

Mrs. Wyndham did not pursue the subject. 



202 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" Is anything the matter with you, Emma 1 " asked her 
mother, as she received the customary "good-night" and 
kiss from her daughter. 

" Nothing particular, Mama. I have got a headache." 

*' I hope you will sleep it off, my dear " ; and she drew 
her affectionately towards her as she said these soothing 
words to her ungracious child. For Mrs. Wyndham knew 
well enough that Emma was simply out of humour. 

" Hav^e you asked any one to meet Sanders to-morrow?" 
inquired Mr. Wyndham, after the girls had retired. 

" O, dear, no ! " replied his wife, in rather an alarmed 
tone. " I have not thought of such a thing. It is not the 
least necessary. John does not expect it, I am sure, 
having come in this family sort of way, as he has ; and for 
a fortnight, too ! He does not expect company to meet 
him." 

"You know best, my love," said the acquiescent hus- 
band. " I am quite satisfied ; I was only afraid he might 
feel dull." 

" If he should feel dull — after all, he asked himself," 
continued Mrs. Wyndham ; " it is not as if we had invited 
him^ and were bound to make the visit a gay one. Besides, 
I am sure I do not know whom I could ask to meet him ; 
and then we have company next week, you know." 

" All right, all right, my dear," said Mr. Wyndham, who 
soon got tired of an array of reasons ; "1 have no doubt you 
are quite right " ; and so the matter ended. 

" A fortnight more of this sort of thing," said poor Mrs. 
Wyndham to herself, as she mounted to her apartment ; 
" and only one evening over ! Gertrude cannot help me, 
and Emma will not, and Algernon, dear boy, will not be 
here to-morrow. Percy after a bit will, I fear, get tired, 
too. 0, dear ! O, dear ! " And then Mrs. Wyndham 
reverted to the alarm about Captain Baines, and the other 
annoyances connected with the impending dinner and party. 



UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 203 

Had it not been for Roper's presence, the poor lady, though 
little prone to be lachr}Tnose, could have shed a few tears 
of sheer vexation while that functionary was helping her 
mistress to unrobe. 



CHAPTER XX. 

UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 

Uncle John was in the breakfast-room punctually at nine 
o'clock. For a few minutes he was its sole occupant. By- 
and-by Gertrude made her appearance. The early bloom 
of the day was on her face, a bloom so evanescent, in her 
case, under the influence of fatigue. She was dressed 
simply and in good taste, and looked charming. So her 
uncle thought, as he took her hand in one of his and 
caressed her chin with the other. 

" So, my pretty, you are fii-^t in the field," he said. 

" I make the tea, uncle," said Gertrude. 

'•Ah, the youngest makes the tea; so it was with us 
when I had two. Mary made the tea ; but my darling is 
gone to God ; so Teresa now makes it — there are only she 
and I now." Uncle John said all this with a smile on his 
face, but there was a moisture in his eye which gave token 
of what was passing in the father's heart. 

A sympathetic tear rose to Gertrude's eye also. " How 
old is my cousin ] " she asked. 

" Teresa is eighteen ; just a year older than you. She is 
a sweet girl, and a favourite with everybody ; not with 
foolish Papa only." 

" I should like to see her very much," said Gertrude. 



204 THE AVYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" I wish you could, my dear. Well, suppose you come 
back with me to Palermo ? I will take great care of 
you." 

•' O, uncle ! " 

" You would not like it 1 " 

" I did not mean that. You are very good, and I think 
I should like it, but Mama and Papa " 

" They would not spare you, I suppose ; that's it 1 " 

" I am afraid they would not let me go ; indeed, I am 
sure they would not." 

" And then, I dare say, you would not like to leave all 
these gaieties 1 Don't be afraid to speak the truth. I like 
the truth." 

" T don't know quite. I like balls when I am at them, 
but I sometimes wish 1 did not like them and had never 
been to one. A friend of mine, Anne d'Hericourt, has 
never been out in the world, and does not wish to go ; and 
I think she is happier than I am." 

"Happier than you are ! Why here is quite a little 
sage at seventeen, who has found out the misery of the 
world ! " 

" Don't laugh at me, uncle." 

" Bless your soul ! child, I am nob laughing at you ; I love 
to hear you talk. And who is Anne d'Hericourt ] " 

Then Gertrude told the story of Emma's accident, and 
the kindness she had received. 

" Those seem people of the good sort. I should like to 
know them. And why doesn't your friend ' go out,' as 
they call it ? " 

" I thiuk her mother does not like the kind of thing : 
the daughters are brought up very strict. But I liked to 
be with them ; they were very kind and pleasant, and I 
used to come home so comfortable." 

'^ Don't you feel comfortable after your gay doings ? I 
fancy you are not very strong, my girl." 



UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 205 

" I am easily tired by being up late, and I get a bad 
cough in the winter ; but that is all." 

" That is all ! that is quite enough. Now I think a 
winter at Palermo would be just the thing for the cough. 
And we would go a pilgrimage to Santa Rosalia, and she 
would cure you. My Teresa is very devout to the Santa, 
and commits all her little affairs to her." 

"How nice!" said Gertrude, " 0, I am sure I should 
like to go ! " 

The entrance of Mrs. Wyndham interrupted the tete-a- 
tete, " I did not know you were down, John. I fear I 
have kept you waiting for breakfast." 

*' I have been waiting in very good company, I can tell 
you. I have been making my niece's acquaintance ; we 
have got very intimate already, and have been telling each 
other all our little secrets — have we not Gertrude ? " 

Mrs. Wyndham was somewhat taken by surprise at this 
communication, and did not know how to reply ; so she 
simpered instead. 

"I am going to carry her back with me to Palermo ; it 
is all settled." 

" I don't know what Papa would say to that j)lan," re- 
plied the mother. She said nothing about her own feelings 
on the subject ; it was not necessary, as she had her hus- 
band's objections to fall back upon j but her whole soul 
revolted at the bare idea. 

Emma now entered ; she had made her reflections during 
the night, and they had resulted in a determination to be 
in better humour and behave more pleasantly to her 
mother. To whom else could she look to stand by her % 
and she might need her support before long. So the cloud 
was off her face now, and Mrs. Wyndham perceived the 
change at once, with much satisfaction. The clearance 
raised a corresponding weight off her own mind. Mrs. 
Wyndham dearly loved both her girls, but Emma was the 



206 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

most necessary to her, and was apt to be disagreeable at 
times into tlie bargain ; both which circumstances gave her 
special power, and caused her to be humoured and petted 
more than her sweet-tempered sister. 

By this time the tea had been made, and was giving 
forth that peculiar fragrance which indicates the proper 
moment for pouring it out. Emma presided over the 
coffee at the other end of the table. 

"Where is Wyndham?" asked Sanders. 

" He is generally late," replied his sister ; "he very often 
drinks chocolate ; so he tells us not to wait." 

" Tea, uncle ? " The uncle assented, and Gertrude poured 
out his cup and handed it to him. 

" Have you sugared me 1 " 

" Done what, uncle 1 " asked Gertrude. 

" Sugared me, child — put in my sugar ^ " 

Emma's lip curled, and Mrs. Wyndham winced sympa- 
thetically with her eldest daughter. 

" 0, no ; of course I have not. I don't know how much 
sugar you like," replied Gertrude, simply. 

" Lots ; so you will know next time." 

" It is best for all to help themselves," said Mrs. Wynd- 
ham, fidgeting; "the sugar and cream are by you, 
John." 

" It is scalding hot," said John Sanders, after his first 
sip. " By your leave," and he poured a portion into his 
saucer, which he raised to a level with his mouth to blow 
at it, holding it in both his hands, with the little fingers 
stuck out at right angles. 

" dear ! a fortnight of this sort of thing ! Fortu- 
nately there is no one to see him," muttered his sister, 
inwardly. 

" Now, what is the order of the day 1 " asked the uncon- 
scious guest, setting down the saucer. 

"We have very little order here at all," said Emma, 



UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 207 

who thought it well on her mother's account to take some 
share of the burden of conversation. 

" You will not mind having only ourselves to dinner, 
John, I hope," observed Mrs. Wyndham ; " I thought you 
would prefer it, meeting as we do so seldom." 

"Much," said her brother. "I have come to see yoiCj 
not your gay friends." 

** But we are to have a very gay party at the end of 
next week — a dinner and a little soiree dansante. I fear 
that will not be in your way ; but the cards were out, so 
it could not be avoided, and you shall sleep in the attic 
that night, if you don't mind, and can go to bed when 
tired ; you will not hear the noise much, I hope, up 
there." 

" I am not going to be sent to bed in that way, Beatrice, 
— like a naughty boy, I can tell you. I shall stay and see 
the folk footing it. Such gay doings don't often come in 
my way. And whom have you to dinner ?" 

" A party of gastronomes," said Emma. "I am to 
partake with them, but Gertrude is turned out for the 
occasion, and will only get the good dishes when they 
emerge from the festive board." 

" Upon my word, I shall be tempted to join her," said 
Uncle John, "being rather of Sancho Panza's opinion, and 
enjoying my bit behind a door better than in grand com- 
pany. You and I, Gertrude, will munch behind the door." 

" AVhat a funny idea ! " said Gertrude, laughing. 

She was, however, the only one who laughed. Emma. 
looked supercilious, and Mrs. Wyndham played with her 
knife and fork, and a bit of fried bacon on her plate. She 
hardly knew how to deal with this intimacy which had 
suddenly sprung up between the uncle and her youngest 
daughter. All was in extremes : Emma was too distant, 
Gertrude too familiar. 

" Bless my soul, though ! " exclaimed John Sanders, '' I 



208 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

must stir my stumps about my teetli ; it will never do to 
appear before all your fashion ables, Beatrice, looking like a 
prize-figliter wlio lias liad the worst of it." 

Here Emma fairly burst out into an honest laugh, re- 
memberinof what she had herself said to Algernon the 
previous evening. 

" That's the first time I have seen you laugh, my girl," 
said her uncle, " and it does me good. A girl is worth 
nothing who cannot laugh. Girls ought to laugh." 

" I can tell you, John, Emma can not only laugh herself, 
but make us all laugh very often," said her mother. 

*' Well, we shall get better acquainted, I dare say," 
replied the good-humoured uncle. " I am used to seeing 
merry faces. My Teresa is as merry as a grig." 

" Dear me ! you surprise me," said his sister. 

" She took on, of course, a good deal about Mary's death, 
and missed her much ; but she is getting over that now." 

" But I thought — 1 thought," said Mrs. Wyndham, " that 
she was quite of a serious turn." 

" There's a time for everything, as Solomon said," replied 
Sanders ; " she is serious at the right times." 

" But I thought she was inclined to a conventual life." 

" She hopes she has got a vocation ; but it is quite a 
Protestant fiction, as you ought to know, my good sister, 
to think that convents are retreats for melancholy people. 
I wonder what the nuns themselves would say to that. 
They would soon turn a dreary postulant to the right 
about. Melancholy people don't do in convents ; the con- 
vents don't want them, and they want a stronger dram to 
keep up their spirits than they will get there. You must 
bring your own spirits with you ; they are not furnished 
in the convent bill of fare. Nuns like postulants with 
pluck." 

"But, my dear John, you don't suppose that melan- 
choly or pensive persons — for I did not mean melancholy 



UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 209 

exactly when I spoke of your Teresa — you do not mean that 
such persons generally take to drink 1 " 

Here CJncle John burst into a sudden gust of such 
uncontrollable laughter, that he fairly sputtered his tea over 
his jjlate. *' You have quite choked me, Beatrice," he at 
last blundered out ; " I did not know you were so matter- 
of-fact. Good morning to your nightcap, Wyndham " — this 
was to his brother-in-law, who entered the room at that 
moment — " we have half done breakfast." 

" You must excuse me, Sanders ; I am a terrible fellow 
for punctuality, except where business is concerned." 

" There is nothing to excuse, so far as I am concerned ; 
you see I have been well provided for. You members of 
Parliament are privileged persons at home, having so much 
to do in public ; and, besides, I should be quite sorry if 
there was any etiquette about me." 

*' You will make yourself at home, John — that's right" ; 
and Mr. Wyndham dropped into his chair, and took up the 
paper. 

" What does nephew Algernon do for and with himself 1 
He does not live here, does he 1 " asked Sanders. 

" O, that fellow, Algernon" — his father generally called 
him "that fellow," with a peculiar tone by no means signifi- 
cant of satisfactory feelings evoked by the recollection of 
his son — " he lounges away a certain number of hours most 
days at the Foreign Office. I should think the Government 
would scarce miss his exertions, for which it pays a very 
moderate sum ; and I suspect he has not ambition enough 
to make his way to anything higher." 

Mrs. Wyndham scraped her throat. " Dear Algernon 
has good abilities, which in his present subaltern situation 
are, of course, quite wasted. And everything goes so 
by patronage, that it is disheartening to a young man 
of talents." 

" To return to the order of the day," said Uncle John, 
p 



210 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

who appeared to take more interest in his nieces than in 
his nephew — " dine at half-past seven, and lunch V 

*' "We have luncheon at half-past one, or nearer two, 
perhaps," said his sister. 

'' Well, by-and-by I shall take a saunter. Will one or 
both of you girls go with me ? You see I don't know my 
way about this great city, and shall get lost, perhaps, like 
the babes in the wood." 

Mrs. Wyndham looked inquiringly at her daughters, or, 
rather, at her eldest daughter, for Emma was the difficult 
and doubtful one. 

" Minny Yiucent calls in her brougham for me. Mama, 
this morning. She is going to choose a pianoforte, and 
wants my opinion ; and then I go back with her to Cadogan 
Place, to hear Julia and M. Dubois practise." 

*' Tn short," said Uncle John, " we may reckon Emma 
to be a pig with a soaped tail this morning ; we shall not 
get hold of her.^' 

" I shall like a walk very much," said Gertrude. 

And so it was at once arranged that the uncle and his 
youngest niece were to be companions. 

" Suppose we say eleven o'clock ; but I wish first to go 
and visit your basement floor. I want to see your kitchen 
range — not to say, that excellent woman, your cook." This 
project was carried out. Uncle John, escorted by Gertrude, 
went down below after breakfast and visited kitchen, back 
kitchen, larder, cellar — every place, in short, even to the 
coal-hole, poking his nose into every corner, and asking 
questions about everything — John Sanders was evidently 
a great man for questions. Gertrude could satisfy very few 
of his inquiries, but Mrs. Tyrell supplied the deficiency. 
She was herself not exempted personally from the interro- 
gatory, to which she replied concisely, with her usual mild- 
ness. The following dialogue took place in the drawing- 
room after the conclusion of the progress : — 



UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 211 

" That cook of yours don't look like a cook." 

" She has not the appearance of having much stamina," 
replied Mrs. Wyndham ; " but she is strong, for all that, 
and gets through her work without fatigue." 

*' No, Mama, I am sure she is very much tired some- 
times," said Gertrude ; " but she never complains." 

" I don't mean only that she is not stout and thick,'' 
resumed the uncle, " but she is like a lady in her man- 
ners." 

Mrs. Wyndham simpered. " I cannot say I ever noticed 
that." Inwardly she was thinking that her brother John 
was a poor judge of such matters. 

"She is a mousy thing, with no particular manners at 
all, I should say," observed Emma. " Rachel looks more 
like a lady of the two." 

" What ! that pajypagallo, with the yellow chignon 1 " 

" I don't know about a 2mppagaUo. I did not mean that 
she is anything striking ; only, of the two, she has the best 
claims on the score of air and manners." 

" Well, every one has a right to his own opinion ; and I 
say Mrs. Tyrell is a duchess, compared to her." 

" They are both well enough in their way ; and it does 
not much signify, I am sure," said Mrs. Wyndham, who 
took slight interest in her servants, save as regarded their 
efficiency. 

" We had a talk about the soup," continued her brother ; 
" and I asked her how she gave it that brown colour and 
relishy flavour." 

" Cooks are generally a little mysterious about their art," 
said Mrs. Wyndham. 

" Mrs. Tyrell was not a bit mysterious ; she told me 
it was by frying the vegetables. ' That is what they do 
abroad,' says I. ' Where did you learn that dodge ? ' So 
she told me she learnt it in France." 

"0, yes, I forgot, Tyrell was, I believe, in France at one 
p 2 



212 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

time, witli the family from whom I engaged her. She 
wished to remain in England, so left them, as they were 
going abroad again. It had slipped my memory. She 
stews very well ; even your father allows that, Emma." 

" I heard Anne d'Hericoiirt say," observed Gertrude, 
" that the fault of English cooks is that they stew too 
fast." 

" By the bye, Aime is something of a dab at cooking 
herself — so odd ! " interposed Emma. 

" Oh, Emma, a dab ! " exclaimed Gertrude. 

" Well, a dab — I don't object to that word, my girl, at 
all ; it is very expressive, and came out naturally. Don't 
you mind your fastidious sister " ; and Uncle John face- 
tiously bestowed a slap on Emma's back. 

She liked neither the familiarity nor the being patronized 
in vulgarity by her uncle. " I am like Solomon and 
Teresa," she said ; " I understand the times and seasons for 
things, and suit my behaviour accordingly." 

Whether or no Uncle John caught the insinuation con- 
veyed under this remark, her mother at any rate did, and 
thought it well to obviate any too particular application by 
remarking that perhaps it was as well not to use a word, 
when they were alone, which was not producible in com- 
pany, lest it might slip out unawares another time. 

*' It will not slip out unawares," replied Emma, dryly. 

" Mademoiselle d'Hericourt," continued Mrs. Wyndham, 
"is really a very nice girl, though she is an adept at 
cookery. She is very well brought up, and by no means 
devoid of accomplishments ; and is very pretty besides. I 
feel a great interest in her from peculiar circumstances — 
because — on account — well, I need not mind telling you, 
John, just between ourselves — on account of my dear 
Algernon, who is much attached to her. Nothing could be 
more suitable in every way." 

"And is it to be?" 



UNCLE JOHN AND HIS NIECES. 213 

** Oh, things have not gone so far, John. There may be 
considerable difficulties in the way, I apprehend. Whether 
Madame d'Hericourt will consider Algernon's prospects 
satisfactory, T cannot say as yet. It would be out of his 
power, you see, to make any settlement." 

*' Perhaps the young lady has enough for both." 

" Possibly ; there certainly must be money, for there are 
but these two girls, and the French law secures their in- 
heritance to them; but, you see, parents expect settlements; 
and then Percy, with all his electioneering expenses, could 
not afford, I fear, to give such an allowance to the young 
couple as might satisfy Madame d'Hericourt's expectations. 
She is a most excellent person, and a very devout Catholic 
too, but even your good people have their prudential views 
and considerations. I do not blame them, I am sure. I 
know what a mother's feelings are. I own, however, to 
being just at this moment very anxious on this subject. It 
would be everything for my dear boy to be settled." 

" Humph ! " said the uncle. 

Mrs. Wyndham had her object in all that she had said, and 
in furtherance of this object had not scrupled to be untruth- 
ful. For she was perfectly well acquainted with what had 
passed between Madame d'Hericourt and her son ; and she 
knew that to money no allusion had been made on that or 
any other occasion. She saved her conscience, however, by 
putting the matter, so far as words were concerned, hypo- 
thetically. And was it not very likely, she said to herself, 
that, if personally satisfied with Algernon, this further 
difficulty might and would occur? 

" And pray, may I ask," said Sanders, after a slight 
pause, "how the young lady is disposed 1" 

" Oh, as to that," replied his sister, " I have never any 
fear respecting our Algernon. He is such a general 
favourite, so pleasant, so amiable, so handsome, so every- 
thing that could recommend him in a girl's eyes, that I 



214 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

never expected that difficulties could arise in that quarter." 
Mrs. Wyndham did not venture to say that he had been 
positively accepted, because this admission would have 
forced her to abandon hypothesis and state realities. 

" Nephew Algernon is a good-lookiug and agreeable 
young man," replied her brother, "and, I dare say, knows 
how to make his way with the ladies." And there the con- 
versation ended. 

" I wish you joy of your proposed walk this morning," 
said Emma to her sister, as they were both putting on their 
bonnets. 

" I shall not dislike my walk at all," replied Gertrude ; 
" Uncle John is really very kind and good-natured." 

" Kind and good-natured, if you will, but so is our butler, 
Bowles, for anything I know to the contrary, besides looking 
quite as much or more of a gentleman than this imported 
uncle of ours ; yet T should hardly enjoy walking aroi-in- 
arm with him down St. James's Street, and by all the club 
windows." 

" But then he is the butler ; neither, of course, should I 
like to do anything so strange." 

" How stupid you are, Gertrude ! How can you think I 
meant that the two cases were just alike 1 But really there 
is no use explaining things to you, if you cannot see them 
yourself. All I meant was that a person being very good- 
natured was not reason enough to feel no mortification at 
being seen tacked to him. Suppose you were to meet one 
of your partners or friends whom I could mention"? Do 
you mean that you would be very proud of your companion; 
particularly if they should find out he was your uncle 1 He 
does look so vulgar ; I suppose you see that ; and so odd 
and comical besides. No one could believe he was a gentle- 
man, and no one can help observing him, with his queer 
looks and ways." 

" I don't know why I should care," replied Gertrude ; 



A WALK AND A TALK. 215 

" one is not responsible for one's uncle's appearance ; and 
what do friends care ? As for partners, I don't suppose I 
should liave one less invitation to dance in consequence." 

" You are a goose, Gertrude," said her sister ; — she had 
very nearly said "a fool." " But there is the brougham" ; 
and Emma ran downstairs. She looked hurriedly into the 
drawing-room. There was only John Sanders there, stand- 
ing before the central table, and examining the books which 
lay upon it, while waiting for his companion. " Oh, Mama 
is not here ? " she said, with that look of perfect absorption 
in her own concerns which conveys so disobliging an im- 
pression. 

" Mama is not here j do you want her 1 " 

" No, I was only just going to say she must not reckon 
on my being back for luncheon." 

She bustled off, without awaiting any reply. John San- 
ders delivered himself of it to the four walls. " We shall 
manage to get on without you," he said. 

The uncle had now made acquaintance with his two 
nieces ; and it need scarcely be said that he liked the 
youngest the best. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

A WALK AND A TALK. 

Gertrude soon joined her uncle in the drawing-room, 
equipped for walking. Although she had stoutly withstood 
her sister, nevertheless Emma's remarks had not altogether 
failed of making some impression. Not that she had in 
any way shared her sentiments as to the disgrace in the 
eyes of the world of possessing an unpolished uncle : on 



216 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

this point she was tolerably callous. Emma was very proud, 
and keenly felt any mortification to her ruling passion ; 
but Gertrude was not at all proud, and hence far less sensi- 
tive on points of this nature, but then she was sensitive in 
another way : she was timid, and disliked drawing attention 
by what was strange or unusual. That her uncle should be 
homely and unpolished, nay, even vulgar, did not distress 
her much, but Emma had added that he was " so odd and 
comical," and that his queer looks could not fail to attract 
everybody's notice. This shot struck home. Certainly 
Uncle John was odd and comical-looking, and she was not 
quite sure now that she should much enjoy her walk with 
a character of that sort. They would be stared at, she 
feared ; and Gerti-ude shrank from being stared at. 

They had not long been in the streets before she had 
reason for thinking that her apprehensions had been by no 
means ungrounded. John Sanders walked with his nose in 
the air, looking from right to left, as if he were taking a 
mere country stroll ; and now and then he stood still, and, 
horrible to tell, pointed at something which had excited 
his curiosity and suggested one of his numerous questions. 
Gertrude was leaning on him, and endeavoured gently to 
get him on, but it was no use. Her uncle also preferred 
the crowded and gay streets to the quiet ones. " Don't 
take me down between those dingy rows of houses," he said; 
*'you are a bad pioneer, Gertrude. I like looking in at 
the shop windows." And he did look in at a great many 
of the shop windows, and stood and laughed, and made 
his observations as loud as if no one were within hear- 
ing. The niece did not enjoy her walk, but she resigned 
herself. 

" Well, this is a Vanity Fair, certainly ! " exclaimed Uncle 
John, after a prolonged observation of the gay and richly- 
stocked shop-front of one of those monster establishments 
which abound now in the metropolis. " How would you 



A WALK AND A TALK. 217 

like to have a picking and choosing out of that window 
for nothing, my girl 1 " 

" Very much." 

*' Very much ? Then I will set you a nice penance. Walk 
down one of these big streets, take a look at all the grand 
things displayed, and say, ' I should like this shawl, or that 
bonnet, or that silk dress,' and reckon that they are each 
offered you, as I said ; then refuse them, and deny yourself 
each smart thing in succession. There is a cheap way of 
making merit." 

" I do not think I should succeed in making any." 

"Why?" 

" Because if I might have the things I admire for no- 
thing, I should not refuse them, I know. Yet, it is true, I 
do sometimes feel a scruple about our fine dresses when we 
are going out to a ball." 

*' Why do you feel a scruple 1 " 

" I can hardly explain. I believe it is because being 
dressed out in that way is so unlike the saints." 

" I suppose you don't think yourself very like a saint 
in anything else ; do you ? " 

** No, indeed, uncle." 

" There you are quite right, my pretty one. You are only 
a good little girl who means well, but a long way off being 
a saint, take my word for it. However, if the exercise I 
recommended is beyond you, I will set you something easier. 
Mortify yourself by not giving a glance at these fine things, 
and walk with your nose straight before you." 

"Really, uncle," said Gertrude, laughing, "your preach- 
ing and practice do not agree well together. Here have 
you been examining all these vanities for the last half- 
hour." 

" They do not tempt me, my dear, you see ; and how 
do you know that I am not inwardly execrating them all, 
and making acts of detestation of the world, instead of 



218 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

nourishing covetous desires? Perhaps I have got as far 
as that j what do you think 1 " 

" I dare say you have ; I wish I had. But then it is 
easier for you, uncle, to despise bonnets and ribbous and 
silk gowns, for you do not want them." 

" That is very true, Gertrude ; now, I had not thought 
of that," replied Uncle John, with mock gravity ; " that 
pulls me down from my stilts. It was a shrewd hit of yours, 
I guess. Stop, I must go in here," said the good-humoured 
uncle, pausing at the door of a large watchmaker and 
jeweller's shop; "my repeater wants setting to rights." 
They went in, and Sanders dragged out from his waist- 
coat pocket a gigantic silver watch, in a case like a warming- 
pan. " Now, Gertrude," he said, " I have a great deal to 
say ; so do you divert yourself with looking about you. 
The penance need not begin to-day." 

Gertrude did as she was bid, and amused herself with 
examining the jewellery under the glass cases, now and 
then giving a glance at her comical uncle, to see if he 
had finished. The shop was large, and after going down one 
side she came back leisurely by the opposite one ; and 
Uncle John had not done yet. 

He heard her step, and, looking round hastily, said, 
" Take another turn, my dear." She took another turn, 
and, when this was concluded, found her companion ready 
for a fresh start. "Come," he said, as they sallied for h, 
" I told Mama that T would not let you be tired ; so we 
must go and sit down somewhere or other, for I am not for 
going back yet ; I mean to have a talk as well as a walk." 

" St. James's Park is not far ott." 

*' Well, let us proceed to St. James's Park." 

" But, uncle," said Gertrude, pleadingly, " please be care- 
ful at the crossings, when they are so crowded." 

" Nonsense, child ! you ought to be more used to them 
than I am. I am afraid you are a bit of a coward." 



A WALK AND A TALK. 219 

" It frightens me, threading my way in that fashion ; I 
like to wait till the street is pretty clear." 

" You may wait ever so long for that. Trust to me. I 
take a general's eye of the field first, and so plan my tactics 
— before this cab, behind that omnibus, and so on, and then 
forward without flinching. You tried to draw me back last 
time, the most dangerous thing in the world. Irresolution 
is the worst sort of cowardice ; when you have made up 
your mind, don't look back, but carry through. That is the 
proper way in everything." 

" But I had not made up my mind at all. I should not 
have crossed if you had not drawn me on, uncle." 

" I told you to trust to me. That's a'bit of self will and 
private judgment of yours. You see a walk in the streets 
may be turned into an examen of conscience, as well as a 
penance." 

Gertrude laughed. " You are a terrible director, uncle," 
she said. 

When they reached the Park, the conversation diverged 
to the changes made there since last he had visited London. 
Then John Sanders hummed a tune, as if he were walking 
in the fields, but there were only nursery-maids and chil- 
dren and a few solitary pedestrians about, so Gertrude 
minded less what her companion might do. They found an 
empty bench in the Birdcage Walk at last, and there they 
seated themselves. 

" Now I have lots of questions to ask," he began, — Ger- 
trude thought he had done nothing but ask questions, — " I 
want to know everything about you." 

" O, dear ! uncle, how can I answer so general a ques- 
tion 1 And then there is nothing to tell." 

" Isn't there 1 We shall see. Come, I will be more 
particular. How do you spend every day 1 What is your 
plan 1 " 

" Plan ? I have not got any plan." 



220 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" That is the worst plan of all, to live on no plan." 

" But if I made a plan of the day, it would be sure to be 
interrupted." 

" No matter ; well, tell me at least how the day passes 
usually." 

" When we have not been out the night before, we usually 
breakfast at the hour we did to-day. In the course of the 
morning Mama takes a walk, generally, with one or both 
of us." 

" To pay visits ? " 

" No, that is too early ; we pay them in the carriage in 
the afternoon. Mama calls that walk a ' constitutional,' 
and we sometimes shop a little. We have luncheon at 
half-past one." 

" But what do you do for the rest of the morning 1 " 

" O, different things. Emma practises a good deal, but I 
have not her talent for music ; however, I accompany her 
sometimes when she is singing, and we play duets, too, 
occasionally." 

" Do you read ? " 

" O, yes." 

" What do you read 1 " 

" Some of the library books. We subscribe to Mudie, 
and also to Rolandi ; so have foreign works as well." 

" And what are your subjects — your favourite subjects, I 
mean 1 Do you like history, or travels, or biography 1 " 

" I do not think I care much for biography or travels." 

" Or history ? " 

" We seldom have a book of history. Emma and Mama 
make out the lists, and I read what I find. There are so 
many new novels now that they nearly make up our 
number." 

'' So you chiefly read novels 1 " 

*' I read a good many. I like an interesting novel." 

" Humph ! " said the uncle. 



A WALK AND A TALK. 221 

" I do not mean that I read nothing but novels," added 
Gertrude, after a pause ; " for, of course, I have my good 
books, which I read up-stairs." 

" Your books of devotion 1 " 

" Yes ; I like them ; and T wish I had more of them. I 
mean I wish I had more books on religious subjects." 

" Why cannot you have more ? " 

" Mama seldom buys books." She might have added 
that, had Mama bought any, they would probably not have 
been of that description, but she did not. 

" One cannot get on without spiritual reading," replied 
Uncle John. " I suppose in this Protestant city there is 
no Catholic circulating library ; but there must be some 
lending libraries, I suppose"?" 

" Tyrell says that the Jesuits have a very good one quite 
close. I mentioned it to Mama once, but she said that she 
already subscribed to two libraries, and could not afford 
more." 

" So that was no go. Then the reading comes to this : 
novels, and then good books; good books, and then back 
to novels, turn about." 

Gertrude was silent. 

" You like balls and parties 1 " 

" Not parties at all, but balls very much ; for I am very 
fond of dancing." 

"Of the exercise]" 

*' Yes, of the exercise." 

" Did it ever occur to you to dance about the room 1 " 

" O, but that would be so dull ! " 

** Emma might play on the piano." 

** O, Uncle John ! How can you think that would be the 
same thing ] " 

" No, I don't think it would. There are the lights and 
the dress — which there is a scruple about : all the same, it's 
very nice ; and then there are the partners. There's some 



222 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

excitement in all that, and none in dancing about the 
drawing-room. It's the excitement you like, and not the 
exercise, my dear." 

" You are hard upon me, uncle." 

I think he was, for dancing is naturally a social act, and 
owes its zest to being shared with others. But Uncle 
John said he was not hard, and only wished to get to the 
bottom of things. 

" I am not blaming you, child, for liking going to balls," 
he added. 

"Yet I blame myself often," replied Gertrude, rather 
sadly ; " and that is what made me feel your remark. What 
do you think about these balls, Uncle John ? Am I wrong 
in going 1 " 

" I never said you were wrong. Do your parents wish 
you to go 1 " 

" Yes, they do ; at least Mama does ; but I cannot say 
that I go out of obedience, exactly. I could wish that I 
did not like them so much myself" 

" You keep a large stock of velleities, my little woman. 
You know what a velleity is, don't you 1 " 

'* A half-wish ; is it not 1 " 

** Yes, it is half a wish ; it is wishing the end without the 
means. You want to be very good indeed, like what you 
read about holy people ; is not that true ? " Gertrude 
nodded assent. " But you would not relish their receipts 
for becomiiig holy, I fancy. We had better, perhaps, aim a 
trifle lower, just at present ; and then we may possibly 
accomplish something. There's nothing like being real, 
say I." 

" But what do you think, uncle, of all this ball-going 
and gaiety — the thing itself, I mean 1 " 

" What do I think of a London season, as they call it 1 
Well, I suppose it can hardly be said to help a young woman 
on her way to Heaven. I don't know much about those 



A WALK AND A TALK. 223 

sorts of things, and am not fond of talking of what I know 
very little about ; but any one can see that much, I think, 
without consulting a doctor of divinity. Such a big dose of 
gaiety and amusement must be waste of time ; and waste of 
time is apt to lead to worse ; isn't it?" There was a pause, 
and then Sanders hummed a tune again. After which, as 
if he had been conning the matter over in his mind, he 
added, " Had not you better ask your confessor's opinion 
about these sorts of things 1 That is, if you want to know 
it, and are minded to take his advice. There is no use 
asking otherwise. There is no use taking our scruples of 
conscience there, if we only do it to get ourselves made 
comfortable, Missy." 

Gertrude had not yet seen her uncle look so grave ; and 
began to view him in quite a different light. He had laid 
his finger on a sore point, he seemed to have divined her 
weakness of character, and she was seized with a sudden 
respect for him. 

After another short silence Sanders resumed the con- 
versation in his usual cheery, good-natured tone. " Come, 
little body, I will give you a bit of advice, if you like to 
have it, which will be more to the purpose just now." 
" I should like some advice very much. What is it 1 " 
" That you would try and educate yourself" 
" Educate myself? Mama says our education is finished, 
and 1 thought education ended at seventeen. Our governess 
went, indeed, when Emma was sixteen ; and then we had 
masters afterwards, till we each of us came out. Emma 
has a singing-master still." 

" I don't mean that sort of thing at all. I don't mean 
teaching accomplishments, and so forth. I mean giving the 
mind a little solid food. You are full of scrujDles about 
going to balls, which you have hardly your own free choice 
about, while you fill up the day with trashy reading, quite 
as bad for you, if not very much worse. Why don't you 



224 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

try and get a taste for sometliing better 1 I hate those 
silly novels with all my heart. You tell me your mother 
and Emma choose the books. Do you mean that, if you 
asked them, they would not spare you one instructive book 
out of the number ? Come, tell the truth, child ; did you 
ever ask them 1 " 

" No, I cannot say I ever did." 

*' Did you ever wish it ] " 

" Well — no ; I could not say it occurred to me to wish it." 

" That is the mischief Now, pitch away those story- 
books of yours if you want to get out of namby-pamby 
unreality. What's the use dreaming of yourself as a heroine 
of romance the best part of the day, and wishing you were 
a saint for the remainder 1 " 

*' I am afraid you think me very bad, uncle." 

"No, I don't think you bad at all ; I fancy something 
could be made of you, or I should not say all this to you. 
I don't think I could make anything of Emma. She is a 
queer one." 

" Indeed you have not seen Emma to advantage, uncle. 
She had a headache yesterday, and I own she has an oddish 
temper sometimes, but she has twice as much in her as 
I have. She has a great deal of spirit and courage, too, 
which, you see, T want ; and, if she intended anything, 
would carry it through with a will, I can tell you. Much 
more might be made of her than of me, I assure you." 

Gertrude spoke with animation, for she really loved and 
admired her sister, in spite of all her faults and frequent 
unkind speeches ; and Emma could always, with a passing 
caress or one kind word, heal the wound she had inflicted 
on the gentle and forgiving Gertrude. 

" I dare say what you say is very true," replied Uncle 
John. " Emma has a stronger will than you have ; but, you 
see, it is not a good will — not at present, unless I am much 
mistaken. If her head was the right way, she would out- 



A WALK AND A TALK. 225 

strip you very likely. And now, I suppose we must be 
toddling liome, or Mama will think we are lost. Besides, 
I have a short visit to pay on the way back. I am afraid 
you will not wish for another walk with me in a hurry, 
but will be saying, * What a disagreeable old uncle I 
have got.' " 

" O, no, no ! " replied Gertrude, warmly. 

" But I will promise you, my dear," he continued, " that 
if you will come with me to Palermo you shall have no 
more lectures. Perhaps you won't have quite so many 
balls ; not enough to give you scruples, at any rate ; but we 
shall be very jolly, and Teresa will be so glad to have you 
to read, and work, and walk with. She is a famous girl for 
her needle as well as her books, and has just finished such 
a splendid altar-cloth ; I wish you could see it." 

" So do I. I should so much enjoy that sort of thing, 
and reading and working something good and useful," 
replied Gertrude, " if I had any one to do it with and take 
an interest in it with me ; I should, indeed, uncle. I would 
put away my novels in exchange very willingly. How 
I should like to go ! But Mama will never agree," 

Uncle John pressed afiectionately the little hand which 
had been placed on his arm as they rose to turn homeward. 
Gertrude meant what she said, and, to do her justice, 
although weak, she had not the worst part of w^eakness, 
for she desired to be fortified against her infirmity. Hence 
good advice, or the having her faults pointed out to her, 
was far from oflfending her, and she clung to any one whose 
judgment she had reason to respect, even though that 
person might speak unpalatable truths. She was by nature 
extremely docile, and all her instincts and leanings were good. 
Had she been Madame d'Hericourt's and not Mrs. Wynd- 
ham's daughter, she would have followed like a lamb where- 
ever she had been led. Already she had begun to see her 
uncle in quite a new light, and regard him as a providential 

Q 



226 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

friend. What though he were unpolished, what even though 
he were odd and comical in his ways, she no longer gave 
a thought to what had considerably annoyed her but an 
hour before, and the return walk was one of undisturbed 
serenity. 

" Where is Farm-street ? " asked the uncle, as they were 
drawing near home ; "I have not been inside a church 
door this blessed morning." 

" This way ; we are very near." 

" Is the church open ? " 

" Yes, I believe so." 

" Don't you know ? Does not your mother ever take 
you to pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament 1 " 

" We go to Benediction sometimes on the great festivals." 

"ThatisalU" 

" Nearly all." 

*' Humph !" ejaculated Sanders. 

" Up here, uncle ; this is the turn." 

" What ! is the church up these mews 1 It reminds one 
of the Stable and Manger — poor England ! " 

If it had been a few years later, he might have had still 
more cause to say " Poor Italy ! " but the days of spolia- 
tion had not then begun. 

" It is a very nice church when you are in it," said Ger- 
trude. " Here it is." They entered, and Sanders went to 
kneel before the altar. Gertrude knelt a little way off. 
Her mind was almost too much occupied to pray, but she 
felt singularly impressed, as if she had never before been 
within those sacred walls. Accustomed only to frequent 
the church when it was filled with numerous other 
worshippers, the silence, the stillness, and almost solitari- 
ness, of the place at that hour produced on her mind a 
realization of nearness to Him who made His abode therein 
through all the hours of the day and night which was new 
to her. She fixed her eyes on the lamp of the sanctuary, 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING. 227 

and thought for how many hours it oflfered its solitary 
homage ; then she cast a furtive glance at her uncle. He 
was kneeling with his hands clasped, his honest face raised 
a little, and beaming with an expression of joy and affec- 
tionate devotion, while his lips moved in prayer ; she 
thought, too, that she saw tears glistening in his eyes, 
which were fixed on the Tabernacle. Gertrude felt to love 
him dearly. By-and-by he pulled out a rosary, which for 
size was a fitting companion to the watch. He rose, and 
sidling towards his niece, whispered, " I am going to our 
Lady's Altar and will say a decade for your intention, Ger- 
trude." This done, he went round the church, examining 
every object ; and then they returned to Berkeley Square, 
and the walk and talk were ended. 



CHAPTER XXIT. 

AN UNEXPECTED MEETING. 

While the uncle and younger niece had been occupied in 
the manner described in the last chapter, the elder had 
been talking him over with her mother. Emma had 
returned sooner than expected, for on arriving at her 
friend's house in Cadogan Place she found that M. Dubois 
had sent word that he was prevented from keeping his 
appointment for that morning ; accordingly Miss Yincent's 
brougham had brought her home. Mr. Wyndham had gone 
to his club, and the hour for visitors had not yet arrived ; 
so that the mother and daughter had a long undisturbed 
tete-a-tete. 

" Certainly, my brother John is an odd fish," observed 
Mrs. Wyndham. 

Q 2 



228 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

"Yes, he is very odd, indeed," replied Emma. "One 
never knows what he is going to say next; and he is 
so imraannered. All vulgar people are not rude, at any 
rate ; but he contrives to be everything that is disagree- 
able at once." 

" His oddity perhaps makes his want of polish signify 
less," said Mrs. Wyndham ; " it may pass for eccentricity 
with some people." 

" I am sure I quite dread anybody seeing him," resumed 
Emma, who was Job's comforter always as regarded Uncle 
John ; " my only hope is that he may retire more into his 
shell in company." 

" T do not know that he will ; nothing puts John down. 
He was always like that — afraid of nobody — and would blurt 
out the truth, and speak his mind upon every occasion." 

" It is all very w^ell to speak the truth," said Emma, 
" when you are asked ; but I hate your systematic truth- 
tellers, who are proud of themselves for being disagreeable 
and discourteous, as if it were a virtue." 

" It is natural to John to be like that ; nothing will 
ever mend him. One thing strikes me, Emma ; the h's 
are not so bad as I expected. He pronounces them all, — 
rather faintly, it is true, but that is better than leaving an 
occasional one quite out." 

" You think it may pass for an idiosyncrasy, Mama 1 
possibly it may." 

" A what 1 my dear Emma ; you do use such strange 
words sometimes." 

" A peculiarity of his own, I mean," replied the daughter, 
condescending this time to explain. 

" Just so." 

" It is all bad enough at best," continued Emma. " We 
must drive out every day at the visiting hour, Mammy, 
so as to avoid people seeing him, and — hearing him, which 
is worse still." 



AX UXEXPECTED 3IEETIXG. 229 

"I have been proposing to your father to make au 
excursion to Richmond this week," said Mrs. Wyndham ; 
'* that will dispose of one day at least ; it will get your 
uncle out of the way of people, and amuse him too. Your 
father thinks he can be spared on Tuesday, for there is 
nothing particular before the House that night ; and I 
want to get Algernon to accompany us. You see I am 
anxious that his uncle should be better acquainted with 
him." 

*' I doubt whether knowing him better will increase his 
liking for Algernon." 

" How so, Emma ? Algernon is so liked by all who know 
him ; he cannot help liking him." 

Emma shook her head doubtfully. " I do not think he 
is one of uncle John's sort. But, Mama, what is the use 
of cramming them down each other's throats ? This uncle 
has got a child of his own ; and, of course, he will leave 
all his property to her." 

" If poor Teresa recovers her health and lives," replied 
Mrs. Wyndham, " she will in all probability be a nun. My 
brother will give a dowry, no doubt, with her, but not leave 
his whole property, which I believe is considerable, to the 
convent, you may be sure. He has a strong feeling about 
his relations ; and I have a great notion that he has come 
to look us all up with a view to eventualities." 

" He has other nephews besides Algernon ; has he 
not?" 

" I am not quite sure whether he has any on the Sanders 
side. One of my sisters emigrated to Australia ; she has 
children, both boys and girls, I fancy, but your uncle 
John is not likely to have an eye to one of them. I have 
a brother who is settled in Glasgow, I believe, where he 
married somebody or other." 

•' Some Glasgow merchant's daughter, I suppose ] " 

" Probably ; there may be a family. However, I have 



230 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

not heard John mention them yet, but he has come to us ; 
so, at any rate, we have the first opportunity, supposing he 
means to visit the north ; and certainly we are the most 
credit to him ; and why, Emma, should you think it so 
utterly impossible that he should be prepossessed in Alger- 
non's favour 1 I am sure the dear boy made himself very 
agreeable yesterday evening." 

" Yes, but Uncle John sees he is not his sort. Algernon 
is too much a man of the world for him, too polished. He 
has a sort of inkling of this, I can see he has, and does not 
fancy him in consequence. It is like the fox who had lost 
his tail ; he does not like foxes that have kept them ; he 
considers it the thing not to have a tail, because he has not 
got one himself. He could not be polite and polished if he 
tried ; so he prefers making a merit of being just the con- 
trary. No, he will never take to Algernon ; indeed I do 
not think he takes to any of us, except Gertrude." 

" Yes, he takes a great deal of notice of her," rejoined 
her mother quickly ; " and is it not strange 1 I would not 
have believed it, but Gertrude seems so much pleased with 
his notice." 

" Not at all strange, Mama ; that is just like Gertrude. 
She is always so pleased with being made much of by some 
humdrum person or other. Gertrude is not at all conceited. 
I wish she was more so, for then she would keep herself up 
a little, but if she takes it into her head that anyone is 
good, no matter who it is, she is delighted with the notice. 
It is the same with respect to Tyrell. Really you would sup- 
pose that Gertrude had quite received a favour when the 
cook has bestowed a few words upon her. It is all because 
she knows that Tyrell is very pious." 

" But I do not like that," said Mrs, Wyndham gravely, — 
" I mean that letting herself down and talking familiarly 
to the servants. No good can come of the practice ; it makes 
them forget themselves. I wish to be kind, but every one 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING. 231 

in their proper place, say I. I am glad you told me, Emma. 
I must see to this." 

" I do not think Gertrude will get any harm from 
Tyrell," said Emma. She has no notions evidently beyond 
her kitchen and the church, and only cauts a bit to her, I 
believe." 

" And I do not like that at alir 

" Please do not quote me, Mama. Gertrude would think 
I had served her a trick." 

*' I shall say nothing to implicate you, Emma. Indeed, I 
shall say nothing to Gertrude at all ; only I shall not, for 
the future, let her order dinner. I will do that myself, as 
I used, and this will j)revent the meetings. Kow I think 
of it, I always give the servants some yearly amusement, 
so T may as well send them to the play the day we spend 
at Richmond. Koper and Bowles have had their turn, and 
would stay at home ; James and the coachman will be with 
us, and the remainder could go." 

'' Will you send Tyrell ] I have an idea that she would 
not care to go to the play." 

"Whether or no, she will be wanted to go with the 
others. I should not like to send those two girls by them- 
selves to a place of that sort without a man or woman of a 
certain age to look after them. I shall not ask Tyrell whether 
the play amuses her or not — that is nothing to me ; and I 
shall have done the proper thing by letting her have her turn." 

" And now. Mama, I have something to tell you ; only 
think of my forgetting it till this minute. Minny's brother, 
William, is at home, so, of course, I asked him for Saturday. 
He sings bravura songs extremely well, and requires no 
pressing. In fact, I think he likes to show off, so it struck 
me that some singing before the dancing begins would be 
an agi-eeable variety. Julia Yincent has a good mezzo- 
soprano voice, and is accustomed to her sister's accompani- 
ment, which makes so much difference, and gives confidence. 



232 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

Minny will sing too. My contralto will come in very well ; 
and though I do not like figuring by myself before so many 
people, I do not mind in a duet or trio.*' 

" That will be charming, my dear." 

" But that is not all. Minny asked me if she might 
bring a cousiii of hers, a Mr. Devereux, to which I graciously 
acceded ; and then it turned out that he is a great hand at 
the violoncello ; so, perhaps, he can be prevailed on to 
swell our band. Minny thought he would not object, and 
if not, she will let me know, and I will go another day 
to Cadogan Place and arrange the music." 

" And I have something, too, to tell you, my love," 
replied her mother ; " only it is not quite settled. Your 
father has all but consented to our taking up the back 
drawing-room carpet. The back drawing-room is very 
nearly as big as the front, a little narrower, but quite 
as long, so it would answer the purpose well enough, and 
we could get the things moved in the morning while your 
father is out, so as not to worry him. Indeed, there will 
be very few pieces of furniture to move. Some of the 
chairs and one sofa will be wanted in here, and some on the 
first landing-place ; the remainder can easily be stowed 
away upstairs." 

" Bravo ! " exclaimed Emma ; " I am so glad. The back 
room is rather narrow for waltzing, to be sure ; but as we 
cannot have the front room, this is delicious " ; and Emma 
ran on with various suggestions and arrangements. 

Mrs. Wyndham, however, seemed now to have been seized 
with a fit of absence, for she made no response. In fact, she 
was pondering in her own mind how she could best introduce 
a caution on the delicate subject of Captain Baines's atten- 
tions, and w^as sorely puzzled. If the truth must be owned, 
Mrs. Wyndham was somewhat afraid of her daughter, as 
may already have appeared. No, she felt she could not do 
it. And, besides, how frame an excuse for alluding to the 



AX UNEXPECTED 3IEETIXG. 233 

subject without betraying Algernon ] No, she certainly 
could not do it. At this moment a rap at the door 
startled her out of her reverie. "That must be my brother 
and Gertrude/' she said. " How long they have been 
out. ! Dear me ! it is past one o'clock ; she will be quite 
fagged." 

" And will never say so if she is," added Emma, " but 
will allow herself to be dragged about till she is ready to 
drop. But I do not think it is them, Mama." 

The door was thrown open, and the footman announced 
" Captain Baines." Emma coloured, and Mrs. Wyndham 
almost started, but the gentleman stepped forward with 
much ease, and, after shaking hands with Mrs. Wyndham 
and her daughter — adding, we may be sure, in the latter 
case, a significant pressure — he proceeded to apologize for 
calling at so early an hour. It must be observed that this 
visit of civility was an acknowledgment of the party. 
Captain Baines considered himself intimate enough to seek 
admittance, instead of merely leaving his card the following 
day. Mrs. Wyndham was in a state of mind rare indeed 
with her ; she felt embarrassed, and muttered something in 
return, of which the purport was not quite clear. Captain 
Baines understood it as a disclaimer of any annoyance at an 
early call, and forthwith took a seat on a chair opposite 
to her. 

"You see, Mrs. Wyndham," he began, "if you are 
desirous to catch a sight of the lady on whom you call, 
there is nothing like calling early in the day ; and I must 
plead guilty to having very much wished for an ojDjDortunity 
to say what a charming party yours was the other night. 
There has been none this season at which people have 
enjoyed themselves so much ; every one is saying so, and 
how completely you smashed Mrs. Maitland and Mrs. 
Trelawney." 

At this announcement Mrs. Wyndham smiled and sim- 



234 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

pered a little. It seemed a very pleasant and soothing 
idea — the having smashed those two ladies. 

" I meant to have called before this," resumed her visitor, 
" and brought my answer in person to your kind invitation 
to dinner for Saturday, but Selden carried me off to 
Gravesend ; so I had to write my reply, which I trust you 
received." 

Mrs. Wyndham bowed assent. " Lord Selden, I suppose ?" 
she said. 

" The same you yachted with last year 1" asked Emma. 
That young lady had noted her mother's unusual manner, 
but attributed it to the fear of the inopportune return of 
Uncle John, an apprehension which she shared, and which 
considerably diminished the pleasure she felt at her lover's 
visit. 

" The same ; and he has been pressing me to go to Norway 
with him this summer." 

" And do you mean to go ?" inquired Mrs. Wyndham. 

" I hardly know as yet,'^ replied the Captain, playing 
with his gold-headed cane ; " that depends upon other 
circumstances." 

" It would be a pity to lose so pleasant an excursion," 
rejoined Mrs. Wyndham. 

" Yes," replied Baines, " it would — unless it were sacri- 
ficed for something more agreeable." 

" Of course." 

The conversation certainly languished. Emma thought 
well to start a fresh topic. — Did Captain Baines know 
Sir Philip Eagle ? 

" Every one knoM^s Eagle by sight and reputation," he 
replied ; " but I have as yet never had the honour of an 
introduction." 

" If your taste should happen to agree with my brother's," 
said Emma, "you will think him the most disagreeable 
man in London. Algernon quite loathes him." 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING. 235 

" You must not set Captain Baines against our dinner 
party," interposed her mother. " You will frighten him 
away." This was an effort at graciousness . 

" Hardly, 1 think," replied Baines, smiling. " Besides, 
Eagle is rather a curiosity. I should like to see him eating. 
I understand he is the greatest gourmand in England." 

" Papa would correct you if he was here, and say that 
Sir Philip was only a gourmet^ 

" I believe he is both when he likes his dish ; so I have 
heard Selden remark, who knows him pretty well." Another 
slight pause, and then the Captain inquired politely after 
Miss Gertrude. 

"She is out walking," replied Mrs. Wyndham ; "and 
I almost expected her back before this, as it is getting so 
near luncheon-time." 

The wily lady thought that the mention of that repast 
might suggest an early departure to her visitor. "Whether 
or not it might by-and-by have done so, it is not easy to say j 
Captain Baines did not take the hint at once, possibly from 
good taste, in order that he might not appear to have 
understood it as such, and thus give annoyance. 

" There they are !" said Emma, looking at her mother, as 
Uncle John's unmistakable voice upon the staircase gave 
token of the arrival of the pedestrians. Probably the foot- 
man had been taking some fresh air, and staring about 
him at the hall door, for no knock had announced their 
coming. 

The door now opened, and in burst John Sanders, who, 
before he observed the presence of a stranger, called out, 
" Well ! I suppose Mama is in a proper fuss by this time. 
We quite expected to have the town crier after us." When 
he had got so far, he perceived that there was another per- 
son present. Captain Baines had risen from his chair ; Mrs. 
Wyndham felt that she could not avoid some slight introduc- 
tion, for the three were by this time confronting each other. 



23G THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

'•' Cai^tain Baines — my brother, Mr. Sanders," she mut- 
tered ; but no sooner had she gone through this ceremony 
than her surprise was excited by the strange behaviour of 
the latter. He made no response, no bow, but stood with 
open eyes staring fixedly at Captain Baines. Mrs. Wynd- 
ham felt thoroughly ashamed, and, this time at least, she 
appeared to have good cause. She scarcely ventured to 
give a passing glance at the Captain, who had faintly 
acknowledged the introduction by a slight inclination of 
the head, his countenance immediately assuming a discon- 
certed air, which was warranted, it might seem, by the 
rudeness to which he w^as subjected. There was short time, 
however, for reflection, for, as if desirous to remove himself 
as soon as possible from the stony gaze riveted ujDon him, 
the Captain made a hasty bow to Mrs. Wyndham, and 
forthwith departed, without even waiting to wish Emma 
good-bye, who was standing a little on one side speakiug to 
her sister, and thus had not noticed what had taken place. 
She looked round with some surprise when she heard the 
door close, glanced at her mother's face, which expressed 
worry and mystification, and then, nothing remainiDg in the 
room to interest her, ran up-stairs with her sister to tell 
her the fresh arrangements about the party, while the latter 
was takinsc oflf her walkino; thiDojs. 

Mrs. Wyndham and her brother were now alone. John 
Sanders had not moved a step, nor was he the first to break 
the short silence which ensued. At last his sister burst 
forth in reproaches. 

" How could you behave in that way, John, and bring 
me to shame? So strange, so rude, to take no notice what- 
soever when a gentleman is introduced to you ! " 

" I know the gentleman already," replied Sanders laconi- 
cally. 

" Then why did you not show that you recognized 
him ? '' 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING. 237 

" How long have you been acquainted with that fellow ? " 
said her brother, after a slight pause, without noticing 
her question ; " and who made you acquainted with 
himl" 

" We have known Captain Baines, if you mean him, 
about three months. Algernon introduced him to us, but 
every one knows him ; he moves in the best circles. You 
have surely fallen into some mistake ; and, as he dines here 
on Saturday, I trust you will make a fitting apology for 
your rudeness." 

" I made no mistake, Beatrice, and am not going to 
make any apology. But he will not dine here ; that you 
may be sure of. He will not venture to face me." 

" Pray explain what you mean, John. Do you know 
anything to this gentleman's disadvantage ? " 

" Beatrice," said her brother emphatically, advancing a 
step and laying his forefinger on the table, " that man is a 
scoundrel. He knows he is, and he knows that I know it j 
so, rely upon it, he will not set his foot here again." 

" I believe he is a gay man of the world, certainly," 
replied his sister; "in that respect his character, like that 
of many others, might not stand scrutiny ; but it is not 
the custom, as you must be aware, to put gentlemen beyond 
the pale of society sim.ply on that account." 

" I know that as well as you do, sister Beatrice ; and I 
know also that this same Captain Bold would very ill stand 
the scrutiny you allude to ; nor would much scrutiny be 
needed, for there are certain offences, even of the tolerated 
order, which arrive at being so notorious as to make good 
mothers and brothers rather shy of introducing the per- 
petrators into the bosom of their families." 

" Do nob blame my dear boy," rejoined the tender mother 
quickly ; " it was but the other day that he cautioned me 
against too close an intimacy with Captain Baines, on 
account of his sisters ; and regretted, as I did myself, my 



238 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

having asked him to dinner. To a mere general acquaint- 
ance, he considered, there could be no objection." 

" So he considered; but, however tolerant nephew Alger- 
non may be, he would hardly think so did he know all 
I do." 

'' You make me truly miserable," said his sister ; "and I 
have also, I am sorry to say, asked another individual, a 
friend of Captain Baines, about whom my Algernon speaks 
more doubtfully still, a Mr. Jardine." 

" About Mr. Jardine I know nothing. If he is a friend 
of this Baines, I dare say he is a scoundrel too. He must 
be a precious scoundrel to be a worse ; that is all I can 
say." 

"A scoundrel, John ! — that is a very hard word." 

" Not too hard. He is a scoundrel, that Captain Baines. 
If he is not a scoundrel, Beatrice, then — I am a Dutch- 
man " ', and Uncle John plumped himself down in an arm- 
chair, and played what is vulgarly called the devil's tattoo 
upon a little table standing by it. 

" Algernon, I think, is coming to luncheon," said Mrs. 
Wyndham. *' Would it not be proper to speak to him on 
this subject 1 If Captain Baines is the really bad man you 
believe him to be, my son ought to know it, that he may 
avoid his company ; but I think, John, you ought to bring 
some proof beyond this vague accusation." 

The footman now announced luncheon, and the conversa- 
tion was thus for the present interrupted. 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 239 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

A DISCLOSURE AND A CONSULTATION. 

Algernon came when the luncheon was half over, which 
prolonged the sitting. Emma, who never remained longer 
than she could well help in lier uncle's company, and who 
had not felt in good humour wdth her brother since he had 
turned monitor, was not disposed to linger ; so, when she 
had finished, she disappeared, carrying off Gertrude to 
accompany her in a song which she was practising. 

" Come, Gertrude, let us profit by the empty room up- 
stairs," she said. The acquiescent sister obeyed, and the 
three others were left alone. 

Mrs. "VYyndham seized the opportunity, and entered at 
once on the subject which so painfully occupied her mind. 
"Algernon," she said, "your uncle has made me extremely 
uncomfortable by telling me that he knows something very 
discreditable of Captain Baines, and by seeming not to 
reckon him proper company for any one." 

"That is going very far, certainly," replied her son ; "I 
do not myself suppose that Baines is exactly a model of 
propriety, but he is quite as respectable, I imagine, as a 
great many whom your London world delights to honour." 

" Baines is a cheat," said Sanders ; " that is the long and 
the short of it, or, rather, the short of it, for it would be a 
long enough story to catalogue his offences. Whatever the 
London world may honour — I know very little about 
the London world — I suppose it does not honour vulgar 
cheating." 

" A cheat ? " said Algernon. " Do you mean that he 
cheats at cards 1 " 

" Yes, I mean that he cheats at cards, and no mistake 
about it." 



240 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" That is a serious cliarge, indeed. Baines is a very good 
and lucky card-player, I know ; but I never heard a sus- 
picion cast on his fair dealing." 

" Seeing is believing, as they say," replied the uncle ; and 
he proceeded to detail how Baines had spent some months 
at Palermo, where his reputation in other respects did not 
stand very high, and where he was noted as a successful 
gamester. Having conceived a susjncion of him, grounded 
on varioiTs circumstances into which it is unnecessary to 
enter, Sanders had taken the occasion of a party at the 
English Consul's, to which he was invited, to watch the 
card-table where Baines was seated. Standing behind un- 
observed, he carried away in the course of the time he thus 
spent the unmistakable conviction that Baines was guilty of 
dishonesty in. his play. " I called at his lodgings the next 
day," said Sanders, " and taxed him to his face with what 
I had seen. At first he tried to bluster, denying the charge 
indignantly ; but I said to him, ' Now, hark ye. Captain 
Baines. I am not a-going to allow you. to disgrace my 
country any longer in this town where I live ; so, if you 
take on in this style — mark my words — I shall speak out of 
you as you deserve in all companies ; if you are wise, then, 
you will follow my advice and leave the place. Leave 
Palermo to-morrow, and don't set your foot again here. If 
you will do this, I will be silent as to what I saw yesterday 
evening, and not brand your character before the public ; 
reserving to myself, of course, the right to caution any 
friend of mine against you on whom you may ever intrude 
your acquaintanceship.' Well, after a short demur and 
further attempt to carry the matter with a high hand, seeing 
I was firm, he gave in ; and, growling like a cur as he is, 
he sneaked off with his tail between his legs. I heard of him 
later at Florence, where he was taken up by Lord and Lady 
Selden, or by my lady, at least : all which was talked about 
in worldly fashion." 



A DISCLOSURE AND A CONSULTATION , 241 

" He is, or was, a sort of cavalier e servente to Lady Selden, 
I know," said Algernon ; " but as Lord Selden made full 
as much of him as did his wife, it was no one else's business 
to complain of the intimacy ; but this other matter is an 
ugly affair, we must allow. And here is my mother," he 
added, " hand and glove with this chevalier d' Industrie, 
if so he be, and has, moreover, got him to dinner next 
Saturday"; and Algernon could not help smiling at the 
ludicrous Jix in which his respected parent was placed. 
There was an innate levity at the bottom of the young man's 
character, which prevented him from taking up anything 
with much earnestness, and rendered moral indignation 
almost a stranger to his bosom. An observant person 
might have read in the quick, shrewd eye of John Sanders 
that he noted this trait in his nephew's disposition. 

" Your uncle says he will not come," said the truly un- 
happy mother. 

" He certainly will not come ; whether or no he is aware 
I am staying here, he will be quite sure that I shall tell of 
him," said Sanders. 

"If he does not come," observed Algernon, "that will 
condemn him. It will be a pleading guilty." 

" I think his leaving Palermo, when I taxed him with 
cheating, was quite sufficient to condemn him without this 
fresh proof. I suppose you do not doubt my word 1 " 

" Not in the least," replied the nephew, carelessly ; " it is 
an ugly business, certainly." 

Sanders, having now delivered himself of all he had to say, 
made the sign of the cross — a pious practice apparently con- 
sidered superfluous by the Wyndham family at the subsi- 
diary meal of luncheon — rose from the table, and left the 
room. Mrs. Wyndham and her son remained alone. 

" What shall I do, Algernon ? " she exclaimed in a most 
disconsolate voice. " I never felt so completely knocked 
down in all my life." 

R 



242 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" I don't know, mother, wliy yon should take the thing 
so much to heart," replied the son, quietly pouring himself 
out a glass of wine. " You seem as much cut up about it 
as if you had been yourself detected in some fraudulent 
proceeding." 

" But, my dear Algernon, is it not dreadful ? " 

" Whichj my dear mother? The cheating at cards, or the 
having engaged the cheat to dinner 1 " 

" Now, do be serious, Algernon, for it is a very serious 
matter indeed." 

" Yes, it is very serious ; and so am I serious, I assure 
you." 

" Does it not seem scarcely credible 1 — when I remember 
his style and assurance ! " 

" There a?'e such people in the world, and they commonly 
do not lack a certain style and much assurance, whatever 
else they may lack," replied Algernon ; " but I must con- 
fess it had not occurred to me that Baines went so far as 
that." 

"jWas so bad as that?" 

"I do not know what may be called bad. I did not 
think he was a man of chivalrous honour precisely, but I 
did not suspect him of being a downright vulgar knave." 

" To sacrifice name, position, everything in that way — I 
cannot understand it." 

" Gentry of that sort, mother, do not expect to be 
discovered ; they run the risk for the sake of the advan- 
tage." 

" But what a risk to any one who, as a gentleman, 
has a character to lose, has a good station in society, and 
has honourable connections besides ! After all, is it possible, 
Algernon, do you think, that he may be an imaginary 
man?" 

" My dear mother, you make me laugh ; I cannot help it. 
"What do you mean by ' an imaginary man ' ? " 



A DISCLOSURE AND A CONSULTATION. 243 

" I mean what they call a ' man of straw.' He has men- 
tioned an uncle in Yorkshire once or twice, who must, 
according to him, have some landed property ; for he said 
one day he was an ' excellent country squii-e, of the old- 
fashioned sort.' I pictured to myself a sort of Sir Roger de 
Coverley. Perhaps there is, in fact, no such person." 

" I believe the uncle in Yorkshire is a reality, mother ; 
and Baines talks of him, certainly. But Yorkshire is a good 
way off, and we do not exactly know how the uncle talks of 
liim." 

" How did you get to know him in the first instance % " 

" I cannot quite recollect who introduced us to each 
other," said Algernon, continuing to sip his wine. " Is this 
some of the old boy's Marsala, mother ] it is very good." 

" Yes, I believe so," said his mother, absently ; " but I 
want to know about your introduction to this man." 

" Well, I do not exactly remember, but I think it was at 
the Club we met first. Some one brought him in whom I 
knew, and made us acquainted. But Baines had a very 
good set of friends. I fancy the Seldens must have fur- 
nished him with letters of introduction to some of their rela- 
tions ; so he started well. The Seldens themselves have 
only just come over." 

" If it were not," said his mother, " for what John 
relates of his leaving Palermo when he taxed him with 
fraud, I could almost fancy that he might have imagined 
the whole thing. John has his prejudices." 

" A good stock, I conceive. However, he has his whole 
story quite pat, chapter and verse, and is ready, as he 
would say himself, to take his davy of it. I fancy his dander 
would be considerably up, mother, if you were to question 
his accuracy." 

<<I am afraid it is too true," replied Mrs. Wyndham, 
despondingly ; " and now I remember I saw, when I glanced 
at Captain Baines for a moment, that he winced and looked 

R 2 



244 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

disconcerted. T thought it was in consequence of John's 
queer behaviour, and laid his hurried departure to the same 
cause." 

Algernon now questioned her as to what had happened 
on the occasion, and inquired whether Emma had observed 
anything. 

" I think not," said Mrs. Wyndham ; " she was speaking 
to Gertrude, and it all })assed so quick — he was gone like a 
shot. And now, what am I to do ? " 

" Nothing," said Algernon ; "wait and see what Baines 
does. It is still a week before the dinner. Time enough to 
settle." 

A ring at the door-bell was followed by the entrance of 
the footman with a note. 

" Any one waiting for an answer 1 " asked Mrs. Wyndham. 

" No, ma'am ; Captain Baines's page left it." 

Mrs. Wyndham tore the note open as soon as the servant 
was gone, passed her eye hastily over it, and said, " He does 
not come; just what John expected.'" Then she read it 
out loud. 

" My dear Mrs. Wyndham, 

** On my return to my lodging, I found a telegram 
awaiting me, which summoned me into Yorkshire on some 
pressing business. As I cannot be certain how many days 
I may be detained, I fear that I must at once renounce 
the pleasure of joining your agreeable party on Saturday 
evening. 

" Believe me yours very sincerely, 

" Frederick Baines." 

" Sincerely — indeed ! " 

" Come, mother, this gets you out of your difficulty." 
" Out of the immediate difficulty, Algernon, but he will 
return ; and then there is that Mr. Jardine ! " 



A DISCLOSURE AND A CONSULTATION. 245 

" He will come, no doubt," said her son ; *' if he sneaked 
away too, it would be tantamount to confessing himself 
an accomplice, which I dare say he is. You must swallow 
that pill, I fear, mother." 

" I suppose I must. Now about telling the girls — 
Emma, J mean ] " 

*' Don't you do that, mother ; let be at present. Baines 
will not attempt to come near you or them so long as my 
uncle is here ; indeed, I dare say he has really left town ; 
though the telegram is a pretence, of course. He has plenty 
of friends, and has run otf, depend upon it, to some house 
where he has established his footing. When my uncle goes, 
we can take some precaution about Emma." 

'* But why not sooner 1 " 

" She would not believe the story ; she would say it was 
a calumny — a fabrication of my uncle's. She does not like 
him ; everything that comes from him she is sure to hold 
cheap and despise ; and Baines she does like, so is 
prejudiced deeply in his favour. Yes, mother, she does 
like Baines," he added, seeing her about to reply, " and 
more than you imagine, or I am very much mistaken. 
I know Emma so well ; and when she has got her head up 
about anything, she will not listen to reason ; she would be 
so furious with my uncle, you would not know what to do 
with her, and w^ould heartily wish you had kept your 
counsel. Better leave her alone till he is gone. I would 
show her that note, of course, and then nothing more need 
be said at present." 

" And your father, Algernon 1 " 

" I don't think I should bother my father with the matter 
at all. What is the use? He does not think about Baines, 
and will soon forget his very existence." 

To this view Mrs, Wyndbam readily assented, and she 
ended in acquiescing in all her son's advice, as she usually 
did. *' And how do you mean to act yourself, Algernon ?" 
she said. 



246 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" I don't know. Baines will probably be sliy of me too, 
and any way I sball manage to shake myself free of him 
when the time comes. Do not distress yourself about me, 
mother." 

Algernon's nonchalance and indifference were quite re- 
freshing to Mrs. Wyndham. She kissed him tenderly, 
telling him he was the greatest comfort to her. 

"And I am sure, mother," he said, laughing, "you need 
not trouble yourself at all about this afiair. Indeed, it is 
rather a fortunate occurrence, I think. Baines has saved 
you all embarrassment by taking himself off, and there is 
an end, at any rate, to Emma's flirtation." 

" I shall show her this note, then T' 

" Yes, I would show it at once, and do not look mys- 
terious, as if we had been conspiring ; and, above all, do 
not look important about the note, or as though you were 
relieved at Baines's not coming, or anything else." 

" I will do my best," said the fond mother, patting her 
darling on the cheek, *' and obey instructions." Thus 
warned, Mrs. Wyndham played her part tolerably well. 
" Here, girls," she said, " we have a vacancy on Saturday, 
after all. I have just got this note " — she handed it to 
Emma — " Captain Baines qannot come." 

Emma's countenance fell at this announcement. " Cannot 
come ! how is that 1 " and she cast her eye over the letter. 
" A telegram — I suppose his uncle is taken ill." 

*' Urgent business he says, you see, but it is all the same 
to us as respects the consequences." 

" So we are at sea again," said Emma, glad to veil her 
disappointment under apparent solicitude about the dinner 
party. 

" I do not mean to put myself out of the way about it," 
replied her mother ; " we shall do mighty well, I dare say. 
If I see any man who would suit, I will ask him ; if not, 
Gertrude can dine with us and fill up the gap." 



A DISCLOSURE AND A CONSULTATION. 247 

" Then I hope, Mama, you will see a man to suit, for 
I do so dislike dinners. I do not not know what to say to 
my next neighbours, and am always sure they must think 
me so dull and stupid.'' 

" Nonsense, child ! " said Mrs. Wyndham ; " no one ex- 
pects girls to say much at dinners." 

" You must learn to talk," said Emma^ trying to seem 
unconcerned on account of Algernon's presence ; ^^ it is only 
practice which teaches the art." 

" I should think. Emma, you were born with the ready- 
made talent," said her brother ; "at least it came early into 
exercise." 

" There you are mistaken, Algernon ; even if I was born 
with the talent, it required practice to make it available. 
I remember so well, when I first came out, how I used to 
rummage in my head for a topic. That comes easy after- 
wards, and one can talk about anything and everything, or 
nothing at all, without the least effort." 

" Where is my brother John ? " asked Mrs. Wyndham. 
" I thought he came up here." 

*' No, Mama ; we have not seen my uncle since luncheon," 
said Gertrude. 

" He must be in his bedroom," rejoined Mrs. Wyndham ; 
and she went down in search of him. 

Algernon left the drawing-room along with her. " Good- 
bye, girls," he called out to them. " Mother, I am off now." 

" And you really cannot go with us to Richmond on 
Tuesday ? " 

" No, quite impossible." This was on the staircase, as 
they were descending together. 

"I do not think JNlama is sorry that Captain Baines 
cannot come," said Emma, when the door was closed. 

" Why should she be glad, Em ?" replied Gertrude ; " she 
asked him herself" 

" Yes, she asked him herself, but she was different then. 



248 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

When he called this morning she was not what she usually 
is ; not cordial, 1 mean. I am sure she was not, the more 
I think of it." 

Gertrude looked at her sister, and noted her clouded, 
discontented brow. "You fancy all this, Emma," she 
said ; " what can have made Mama difierent to Captain 
Baines?" 

" Some one has prejudiced her against him, I am certain, 
and I dare say he perceived the change. Perhaps this is 
why he does not come, and makes the excuse of being afraid 
that he will not be back from Yorkshire in time." 

The return of Mrs. Wyndham put a stop to the dialogue. 
" Your uncle must be gone out," she said, " for I cannot 
find him." 

" I dare say, Mama, now I come to think of it," observed 
Gertrude, "that he has gone to the church. He was asking 
about the hours for hearing confessions in the middle of the 
day, as he cannot go later on account of dinner." 

" What is to-morrow ? Anything particular 1 " asked 
Emma. 

" I dare say my brother goes to confession every Satur- 
day," said Mrs. Wyndham ; " he is very regular and strict 
about his religious duties." 

" I cannot think," said Emma, "what any one can have 
to confess, going so often. That puzzles me very much." 

" Does it ? " said her younger sister. 

" There is the carriage ! " exclaimed Mrs. Wyndham. 
"T did not know it was so late. Get your things on, 
girls." 

But Gertrude excused herself, on the plea of fatigue, from 
driving out that afternoon, and remained gazing out of the 
window in a listless manner while her mother and sister 
were preparing, for she w^as not thinking of anything on 
which her eye rested. Soon the carriage rolled off, and 
she went back to the table, where her as yet unfinished 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 249 

novel was lying. She took it up for a moment, and then 
laid it down again, as if not in a mood for such reading, 
half thinking and half mutteripg audibly, "I wish I 
could have gone to Farm Street with my uncle." 



CHAPTER XXIY. 

SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 

The Sunday passed over quietly and without bringing any 
special mortification or annoyance. John Sanders went tO 
an early Mass, and afterwards with the family to High 
Mass at eleven o'clock. At luncheon he announced that 
he was eating his dinner. " You told me to make myself 
at home," he said to his sister and brother-in-law, " so I 
am going to do so by not being at home for dinner. I 
want to go to Benedicticm this evening." 

" But you must have some dinner, John, when you 
return, or a meat supper," said Mrs. Wyndham. 

" I will have nothing of the sort," said John ; " I am 
victualling-up now. Perhaps an egg at tea, and bread and 
butter ad libitum." 

*' Some cold meat, at any rate," urged his sister, who 
was a great one for support. 

"■ Let him do as he pleases," said her husband ; " people 
like to do as they please. Sanders will ask for what he 
wants." 

" You may depend on my singing out if I feel peckish," 
observed Uncle John ; and so the matter rested. 

Gertrude would have liked to go to Benediction with 
him, and was in hopes, for a moment, that he would have 



250 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

asked her, but he did not ask her, and she did not venture 
to suggest such a thing herself. She somehow instinc- 
tively felt that the proceeding would be viewed as an 
inconvenience, and would not be liked by her parents. The 
proposal on her part would be sure, besides, to create sur- 
prise, and Gertrude did not like exciting surprise ; persons 
who want for moral courage seldom do. She did not, 
indeed, account to herself for the persuasion that her 
absence from the family board in order to go to Benediction 
would not be favourably regarded ; but I think it was well 
grounded. 

John Sanders, then, went alone, and returned to make a 
substantial meal of boiled eggs and bread and butter. 

" I think I should like to know those French friends of 
yours," he observed, as he was taking his candle before 
retiring to his room, at about a quarter to eleven. " What 
was the lady's name '? I forget." 

"The Marquise d'Hericourt," replied Mrs. "Wyndham, 
in a hesitating manner. " She is not very accessible, but 
I have no doubt " 

" I don't want to cram myself on any one," quickly re- 
joined her brother. 

" It is not that," replied Mrs. Wyndham, who was 
evidently embarrased. " The fact is she lives very retired, 
and I have a notion that she admits very few gentlemen." 

"That is, young gentlemen, I fancy," interposed Ger- 
trude. " I do not think she would mind my uncle 
at all." 

" What do you mean by that. Miss Saucebox 1 Do you 
mean I am an old man % I flattered myself I was in the 
prime of my days." 

" Oh, not old ! uncle, exactly." 

" Only a steady safe age, you think. The young ladies 
are not likely to fall in love with me. That is rather 
mortifying. However, you have not seen me yet with my 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 251 

new teeth. But how did nephew Algernon slip in, I 
wonder 1 " 

" That was under cover of Emma's illness in the house," 
replied Mrs. Wyndham. 

" Madame never regretted but once, I suspect, his having 
got in," said Emma. 

" Don't say that, Emma," said her mother ; " we have 
no ground for saying anything of the kind." 

" No, but we have some for thinking it," replied the 
daughter. 

Mrs. Wyndham scraped her throat. 

John Sanders now addressed a general " good-night " to 
the whole party, and went off to bed. Mr. Wyndham was 
already asleep in his arm-chair ; he was always dozy on 
Sunday evenings. 

" I cannot say I enjoy taking my brother John to intro- 
duce him to the Marquise," said Mrs. Wyndham in a 
perplexed voice. 

" His manners signify less with her than with any one 
else," said Emma. " Madame d'Hericourt is not fond of 
people of the world, and will think my uncle a rough 
diamond, — rough, perhaps, but still a diamond. Besides, 
she is three parts French ; do not you perceive her foreign 
accent ? English does not come so naturally to her really 
as does French ; and foreigners are not so discriminating or 
sensitive about our manners or pronunciation as we are our- 
selves, any more than we are about theirs." 

" I dare say you are right, and I am by no means un- 
willing that my brother should know the family ; but I 
do not think I am the best person to go with him. We 
are always rather ceremonious together somehow — Madame 
and myself She will just see him — not the best of him, 
for really I must say my brother is a worthy man, though 
his appearance is against him." 

" He is, indeed," echoed Gertrude warmly. 



252 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" And so she will not get acquainted with him at all, 
but will politely talk to me, and then we shall take our 
leave, and so it will end." Mrs. Wyndham's observation 
was a just one. It was a good reason for her not going, 
though not the motive entirely — perhaps not the motive 
at all, but merely the pretext. She was ashamed of her 
brother ; that was the truth, and her false pride rendered it 
too gi-eat an effort for her to master the feeling. " Besides," 
she added, " I have mj accounts to settle to-morrow morn- 
ing, as the rest of the week will be so much taken up." 

" I shall be very glad to see the girls," said Gertrude, 
" and can walk there with my uncle." 

" That will do nicely," replied her mother ; " and Emma 
had better go too." 

" I would rather not," replied that young lady curtly. 
" I think you had better go, my love," said the mother ; 
*' it is always Gertrude ; and your uncle will begin to sus- 
pect that you avoid him." 

" I have to practise my singing for the party — ^just as 
pressing a matter as your accounts. Mama ; but it is not 
because of my uncle that I dislike going, for I do not mind 
much what Madame may think of him, but I am not over 
anxious to present myself before her ; I am sure she would 
rather not see me." 

" Not see you, Emma, and after being so kind to you 1 " 
" Yes, she was kind to me, and I shall best show my 
gratitude by staying away. She was very chilly last time 
I paid a visit ; that was about ten days ago, when you went 
to ask her to the party ; I have a notion she suspects that 
it was owing to me that Algernon had an opj)ortunity of 
proposing ; and if so, she suspects rightly." 

" You made a very unguarded remark, my dear, just now 
with reference to Algernon. It was calculated to suggest 
the idea that Madame d'Hericourt had a personal objection 
to him." 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CGNFIDENCE RESTORED. 253 

'' I do not think Madame dislikes him at all," said 
Emma ; " but T am sure that she very much objects to him 
as a suitor for Anne. She wants her to marry that book- 
worm, who never utters a word ; but I do not suppose that 
what I said was noticed." 

" 1 am not so certain of that. John has his wits about him, 
and is somewhat suspicious in his way, and inquisitive be- 
sides — very. I fancy that his desire to know our French 
friends is in consequence of what I mentioned about Alger- 
non's attachment." 

" I don't believe a word of that," replied her daughter. 
" He does not feel a morsel of interest about Algernon, I 
am positive. He wants to know Madame d'Hericourt 
because he heard she was a devout Catholic ; that is all ; 
and as for Algernon's chances of matrimony in that quarter, 
if you ask my opinion. Mama," — Mrs. Wyndham had 7iot 
asked it — " I would not give five shillings for them." 

" And what will he do if he fails 1 His heart is so set 
upon that girl," exclaimed the mother pathetically. 

" Whatever he does, he will not break his heart," replied 
Emma. "About him no one need be uneasy. But what 
will he do 1 you say. Well, after lamenting himself for a 
short time, he will turn elsewhere, perhaps go back to 
his former flame, Lady Jane Follett, who has not dis- 
covered, I dare say, this aberration of his aflfections." 

"I should not like Lady Jane Follett for a daughter-in- 
law," said Mrs. Wyndham. 

" Not like her. Mama 1 Why, I should have thought she 
was just what you ivould like. ' My daughter. Lady Jane,' 
would sound so well, and a Marquis's daughter, besides ! 
Quite in your way, I should have imagined." 

" For the matter of that," replied her mother, without 
adverting to Emma's satirical tone — Emma was always 
satirical when out of humour—" Anne's father was a mar- 
quis also." 



254 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" Yes, a French marquis, if you will ; but a marquis only 
because he inherited the lands of a marquisate." 

" I do not understand those distinctions," said Mrs. 
Wyndham. " All I know is that Lady Lanark looks very- 
high indeed for her daughters. They must have rank and 
title, and, if not these, then they must have great fortune, 
which makes amends and confers position. Your brother 
has neither title nor fortune to offer, but I am sure he is 
only too good for Lady Jane ; and I could not bear the idea 
of any one turning up her nose at my Algernon." 

" I do not fancy that Lady Jane would turn up hers at 
him," replied Emma, " even if it were not decidedly aqui- 
line ; but the higher powers would, I dare say." 

" They certainl}'- would ; and then his religion would be 
an obstacle besides." 

" As for his religion, I do not suppose that Lady Jane 
has a notion that Algernon is a Catholic ; but, of course, 
that would come out if things began to look serious." 

" Of course it would ; such a match is out of the question 
in every way; and anyhow I prefer Anne d'Hericourt," said 
her mother — who, it must be allowed, here showed her good 
sense — ''and my boy prefers her ; and this alone would be 
sufficient to make me wish for this match, which would be 
indeed a very creditable one." 

Emma secretly wondered if her own preferences would 
weigh as powerfully in her mother's estimation. 

It was settled, of course, that Gertrude alone should 
accompany her uncle to make this call ; Emma was never 
pressed to do what she disliked. Nothing was said with 
reference to her the next morning, and John Sanders asked 
nothing. A parade of the household accounts was made by 
his sister as an excuse for not being of the party, and readily 
accepted by him ; indeed, I suspect he was all the better 
pleased not to have her company on the occasion. 

Mrs. Wyndham had judged it proper to write a note over- 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 255 

night to Madame d'Hericourt, that she might not be taken 
by surprise. It ran as follows : — 

'* My dear Madame d'Hericourt, 
" Gertrude is proposing to pay your daughters a visit to- 
morrow morning, and my brother, Mr, Sanders, who is 
spending a few days with us, has expressed a desire to make 
your acquaintance. As I know your retired mode of life, I 
was unwilling that he ishould intrude upon you without first 
obtaining your permission. My brother has lived in Italy 
for many years, quite out of the world, and is consequently a 
complete stranger to English society. But I have no doubt 
that you will excuse his unfamiliarity with the world and 
its ways. With love to your daughters, believe me 
" Most faithfully yours, 

" Beatrice Wyndham." 

Emma thought this concludiug observation unnecessary. 
" It is plainly an apology, and is a bad apology, for Uncle 
John is not foreign at all in his manners ; so the remark only 
draws attention." But her mother would not yield this time, 
and the note was sealed, ready for James to take early the 
next morning. Accordingly a favourable answer had awaited 
Mrs. Wyndham on the break fast- table. 

Emma had opined that her uncle felt no interest or 
curiosity about Algernon's love affair, but in this she was 
mistaken, for the first observation which he made to his 
companion when they were fairly started referred to this 
matter. 

"He has not popped the question yet, I supposed — 
nephew Algernon, I mean." He always called him ^'nephew 
Algernon " ; and from the tone in which he said it one 
might argue that something not altogether complimentary 
to that young man was implied thereby. His father's ap- 
pellation of " that fellow " certainly had a meaning — that 



256 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

meaning being that on two several occasions he had paid his 
son's debts. 

" 0, yes, he has,'^ replied Gertrude ; *' did not Mama 
tell you so 1 " Gertrude^ it must be observed, had left the 
room just as the conversation which occurred on the morn- 
ing after Sanders's arrival was beginning. She concluded 
that all had been told, and had no suspicion of her mother's 
diplomatic reserves or insinuations. 

" I did not understand your Mama to say that exactly; 
only that he was sure of success. So he has proposed j and 
— was accepted ? " 

" Yes, in away; only Anne referred him to her mother." 

"Like a good girl ; and what said Mama ? " 

" I do not know what she said to Anne ; we none of us 
know ; all we know is what she said to Algernon, which 
was, that she did not feel sufficiently acquainted with him 
yet; that her daughter was very young ; and that at present 
the thing must not go any farther ; so he was to dis- 
continue his visits. But did not Mama explain all this 
to you 1 " 

" Your mother entered into no particulars, but I under- 
stood that she expected pecuniary objections on the part of 
Madame." 

" I have not heard anything about that ; indeed, I do 
not think that the aflfair had gone far enough for money to 
be mentioned. I am sure it would not be Madame d'Heri- 
court's first thought, at any rate." 

" What would be her first thought ? " 

" She would think first whether he was a good, religious 
man, I am sure. Anne has been brought up very strictly, 
and her mother has very determined ideas about education 
and marriage, and women's duties, and — and — suitable 
husbands." 

" And you do not think nephew Algernon would iquite 
come up to her ideas of the proper sort of husband 1 " 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 257 

"I was not going to say tliat," replied Gertrude, "for 
how can I know ?" 

" But what do you yourself think ? " 

Gertrude paused a moment, and then rejoined, " I could 
not say, uncle, really. We are very fond of Algernon, and 
we do not think he could have a better wife than Anne 
d'Hericourt. He will not find as good a one, I am certain, 
among his partners at balls ; I wish with all my heart he 
may succeed. I am sure he would be a kind and affectionate 
husband, at all events ; and I dare say he would give up the 
gay world if he had a happy home." 

After this, there was a short silence. John Sanders, I 
guess, had by this time discovered two things : first, that 
his sister had hardly given a correct representation of the 
state of affairs ; and secondly, that Gertru.de, in her heart, 
considered that Algernon was too much a man of the 
world to find fa^'our with Anne's mother, but was unwil- 
ling to say so ; he was too good-natured therefore to question 
her any farther. Perhaps — I say only perhaps — he thought he 
had discovered something more. At any rate a suspicion maj^ 
have crossed his mind which had once before been half aroused. 
Mi*s. Wyndham was not so wrong in attributing a certain 
proneness to suspicion on the part of the worthy man ; but 
this tendency did not proceed from an evil heart. Plain, 
honest, and straightforward, as was John Sanders, he was a 
shrewd man also, and his business had thrown him in the 
way of men of all sorts, in his dealings with whom he 
Jiad not seldom encountered fraud and deceit ; caution had 
therefore become a necessity to him, if he would not be 
imposed upon ; and this had given him the habit of taking 
the moral measure of those with whom he came in contact. 
Above all, anything like finesse, manoeuvring, or diplomacy 
was abhorrent to him, and he was sharp in detecting it ; 
so that by such ways as these Mrs. Wyndham was not 
likely to forward her views in favour of her son. 

s 



258 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

While the two are on the road, let us leave them for a 
moment, to recount a dialogue which passed between Anne 
and her mother that morning, while they were sitting to- 
gether for an hour's needlework in Madame d'Hericourt's 
boudoir. This was commonly the time for mutual con- 
fidences, the giving or asking of advice, and other 
conversation of a character which does not so well admit 
of the presence of a third person. Madame d'Hericourt 
dedicated another hour to work and conversation in the 
afternoon, when both daughters were present ; but the 
morning hour was always reserved for the elder, and Pauline 
was never of the party. 

'^ Mama," said Anne, " I have been thinking — thinking 
a gi^eat deal." 

" What about, my love ? " 

" Well, principally about Mr. Wyndham." There was 
naivete certainly in such an avowal. 

'' I dare say you have," replied the mother in a cheei-ful 
voice, which, it must be owned, was not a veiy accurate 
exponent of her interior sentiments. 

"But not exactly in the way you perhaps suppose^. 
Mama. I have been wondering whether we should be 
happy together. It depends, I am convinced, upon what 
I have no means of ascertaining. Will you let me explain 
myself] " 

" Do, my dear child, with all freedom." 

" Well, then, I like Gertrude Wyndham very much, but 
I do not like Emma at all ; and I am not sure that I like 
Mrs. Wyndham either, only I do not know her as w^ell as 
I do the girls. If Mr. Wyndham is like Emma, I am sure I 
could not be happy with him ; but if he is like Gertrude, 
I think I could." 

Madame d'Hericourt saw that she was appealed to for 
an opinion. " I think Mr. Algernon Wyndham has a 
much sweeter temper and disposition than his sister 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 25^ 

Emma," she said ; " I must a^ another point in his favour, 
and I do not hesitate to say much in his favour — he seems 
to me very respectful and affectionate to his mother. I 
never like, as you know, to pass a hasty judgment, but a 
few slight things would have led me not to have the same 
confidence in Emma's case. To be a good son or a good 
daughter Ls a pledge, so far, that the individual would 
behave well in other relations of life. Mind, I do not 
mean to accuse Emma of undutifulness; that would, indeed, 
be a rash judgment ; but she appears to lack a certain 
tenderness towards her mother, which her brother Alger- 
non always unaffectedly manifests." 

" How just and impartial you always are, dear Mama ! " 
replied Anne ; " and as respects Emma I am afraid you 
are not mistaken. She was more at her ease with me; you 
scarcely know her. It is partly levity of talk, I dare say, 
but I must own I was often shocked at her tone about her 
mother. But now, to come back to what I was saying — 
I perceive that her brother is not at all like her in these 
things. He has not her ; flippancy or irreverence; he is, 
indeed, much more natural, I think ; for Emma, after all. 
Mama, is not natural. A great deal which she says is only 
a making of conversation, I can see. What I am anxious 
to know, however, is what there is below the surface. I 
am afraid Emma is worldly. Is he worldly 1 " 

Madame d'Hericourt was silent, for she scarcely knew 
what to reply. Anne had asked the very question which 
she had often asked herself ; and, it must be added, with 
little doubt as to the true answer ; but she did not like to 
say this. 

So Anne resumed. *' It seems to me that persons may for 
a time seek and like amusement, which does not satisfy 
them really, and to those who do not know them, they 
may appear as fond of the world as the others are. This 
is Gertrude's state, I should say. If Gertrude was to marrj 

s 2 



260 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

a good man who did not care for the world, she would not 
care for it ever again ; but I fancy if Emma did, possibly 
she would not think she cared for anything but him at 
first, but I suspect she would go back to it." 

Madame d'Hericourt, well as she knew her daughter, was 
hardly prepared for observations evincing so much reflection 
and penetration, and that in a matter where her feelings, 
if not her heart also, were interested. She thought it best, 
however, rather to encourage Anne to speak than to say 
much herself. She contented herself, then, with observing 
that Mr. Wyndham would probably expect his wife to go 
into society with him. 

" Into the gay world ? " said Anne musingly. " I do not 
feel fitted for the gay world; and, indeed, I shrink from 
it. I should not like mixing with general society, and yet 
I should not like remaining at home aud leaving my hus- 
band to go alone, if he wished me to accompany him ; 
neither should I like his giving up the world simply to 
j:)lease me. Perhaps, after awhile, home might seem dull to 
him, unless he should be fond of reading, or some other 
occupation. And that is another thing — I wonder whether 
Mr. Wyndham cares for reading. I should dread an 
idle man ; I should not be able to amuse an un- 
occupied person, 1 am certain; and it would make me 
unhappy." 

" What has made you think of all this, my love ? " 

" When I see him I do not think of these things, Mama,'' 
replied Anne, '' because I like him very much, and he seems 
to have no thought but of me. I cannot exactly say how it 
is, but no deficiency strikes me at the time ; all seems as it 
should be ; I cannot see a fault ; then, afterwards, these 
thoucjhts will occur." 

"It is very natural, my dear," rejoined ]ier mother. 
'' Mr. Wyndham is eminently pleasing ; there is something- 
winning about him, which I myself recognize, and which 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND CONFIDENCE RESTORED. 261 

disarms criticism ; indeed, lie never provokes censure by any 
remark of his own. And then it is very sweet to feel one- 
self loved ; every one knows that. You see I am not sur- 
prised ; still I do not believe we should be a bit the wiser on 
the points you desire to see cleared up after another year's 
personal acquaintance with Mr. Wyndham. There is one 
thing which it would certainly be most essential to ascertain 
before coming to any decision, and that would be easier, I 
imagine ; I mean his religious principles and habits. You 
seemed satisfied that they are good ; this is a point, how- 
ever, upon which any mistake would be fatal to happiness." 

*' I am as much convinced of this as you are. Mama," 
replied Anne, with much warmth ; " and I was coming to 
that point ; though I mention it last, it is first in my esteem. 
I could make up my mind to my husband having faults, 
even great faults ', I should consider it my duty to bear with 
them, and I hope I shoLdd study by a good example to win 
him to correct them ; but if he wanted principle, and was 
irreligious — Oh, Mama, I could not bear that ! Never, 
knowingly, would I become the wife of one who did not 
love and fear God above all things." 

Madame d'Hericourt laid down her work, took her 
daughter's hand in hers — they were sitting very near each 
other — and drew her fondly towards her. " Did you doubt 
it, mother dear ? " said Anne, looking up with those sweet, 
dove-like eyes of hers, which had so captivated the heart 
of the votary of the world as almost to make that world 
distasteful to him. 

" O, no, never, my child ; only I love to hear you say so." 

" Well, I was satisfied, or thought myself so," continued 
Anne, still leaving her hand clasped in her mother's ; " I 
think I told you so. I not only never heard Mr. Wynd- 
ham say one word which looked like a disregard of religious 
principles or devout practices, or anything relating to them, 
but I remember also that he used to listen with marked 



262 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

interest to whatever observations I may have hazarded on 
these topics. I do not exactly recollect that he originated 
anything himself; it was more as if he liked to hear me 
talk about them, and was glad to lead me on to do so ; and 
this silence did not strike me as strange. But now I must 
explain to you how a misgiving first arose within me, or 
how I first became aware that I had a secret misgiving ; for 
it must have been there, I fancy, all the time, since nothing 
fresh had come to my knowledge. I strove to follow the 
good advice which you gave me, Mama, when last w^e talked 
about Mr. Wyndham, and I behaved so ill ; I mean I 
tried to lay the subject aside for the present and to commit 
the future into God's hands. I had some success, and felt 
much calmer. A few days afterwards, when we were at 
Mass, and were kneeling before the altar, the thought shot 
as it were into my mind, for I had in no way led to it my- 
self : — Suppose hereafter, when T am married, I should 
have day by day to come here alone, and kneel here by my- 
self, my husband never coming to join his prayers with mine, 
s^ve, perhaps, on the Sundays, and then without devotion, 
and as a mere inevitable compliance w^ith duty ! I felt as if to 
live such a life w^ould break my heart ; and I said to myself 
that I could be happier in a desert, seeing no one, only the 
birds and the beasts, than with a man of that sort — a man of 
the world. All day this idea kept recurring to me, and I 
endeavoured to recollect whether Mr. Wyndham had ever 
said anything which threw a light on his daily religious 
practices, but I could not recall a syllable of the kind. All 
I knew was that the rest of the family were not in the habit 
of going to Mass on week-days ; this I knew^ for certain 
from Gertrude, who regretted it. She thought that it might 
be easily managed, occasionally at least, but, except on Wed- 
nesdays and Fridays in Lent, she said, it was not thought 
of, and she could not propose it. Their brother does not 
3ive with them, it is true ; she was not, therefore, speaking 



SUSPICION AROUSED AND COXFIDENCE RESTORED. 263 

of him ; but somehow I cannot flatter myself with the hope 
that his habits are different from theirs. Why had not I 
thought of this before ? T cannot tell. Perhaps if he mar- 
ried, he might change, supposing change is needed, but I 
should not lia^'e the courage to marry a man with the task 
before me of converting him." 

" It is a task few may venture on, my child." replied her 
mother. " Charity to our own souls, our first duty, must 
lead us to seek rather such associates as will fortify our 
weakness." 

"Yet, Mama, though I have said all this," continued 
Anne, " I do not like him less than I did. The image of 
him is as pleasing to me as ever, and, when I think of gi\'ing 
him up, it pains me. But, dear mother, the story of Aunt 
Anne has not been lost upon me, and, though I cannot be 
as good as she was, yet I can so far imitate her at a dis- 
tance that I will never be joined to one who is not himself 
joined in heart to God ; and should I find that so it is with 
Mr. Wyndham, then, indeed, I will discard him at once 
from my thoughts and endeavour to forget him, however 
much it may cost me — and it would cost me a good deal." 

Madame d'Hericourt folded her daughter in her arms, 
and together they wept a few sweet and silent tears. The 
mother's tears were sweet indeed, for they were tears of 
gratitude to God as much as of maternal affection. 

" And now. Mama," said Anne, raising her face, and 
speaking in a cheerful voice, though the bright drops still 
sparkled in her eyes, " I have a request to make ; which is, 
that the inquiry you meant to postpone till our return in 
spring you will make now at once. I wish to set my raiud 
at rest ; this uncertainty is both painful and hurtful to me ; 
I know it is. I do not wish to ask you to alter your pro- 
posed plan, even if the result of inquiries should prove 
favourable ; but if it does not, then I should wish that Mr. 
Wyndham should at once be made acquainted with my 



i>64 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

resolutioi). In either case, I sliall feel mucli calmer, and 
more fit to profit by the retreat we are going to make. In 
the former I shall be able to recommend the afiair peace- 
fully to God; in the latter — well, in the latter I shall be free 
to recommend my future to Him with no bias, secret or 
avowed, and to seek light as to the state of life which He de- 
signs for me. At present I scarcely know how to compose 
my mind, owing to this state of uncertainty. If that uncer- 
tainty could be removed I should be very thankful, as I 
should then see my way clearly before me. I hope you do 
not think this either unreasonable or impatient in me." 

" Not in the least, my child ; I fully understand you. 
You naturally dislike prolongation of doubt as to Mr. 
Wyndham's essential worthiness ; as, if it should be true 
that he does not possess those principles which you feel to 
be indispensable, you would desire at once to rid yourself 
of your preference, and dismiss the recollection of him 
from your mind, instead of keeping your feelings in abey- 
ance for months, to the disturbance of your inward peace, 
and, perhaps, ultimate greater disappointment." 

Anne assented, and her mother assured her that she 
would avail herself of whatever opportunities might present 
themselves, during the remainder of their stay in London, 
to procure the desired information ; adding, however, that 
her very limited circle of acquaintance rendered the inquiry 
far from easy. All was, however, now as it should be 
between mother and daughter ; each felt and knew she 
could trust the other, and mutual confidence was fully 
restored. Truly it was a happy morning for both of them. 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 265 

CHAPTER XXY. 

UNCLE JOHN MAKES A FRIEND. 

Uncle John and his niece readied the door of Madame 
d'Hericoiirt's house soon after twelve o'clock. Gertrude 
knew the habits of the family, and thought that this would 
be a convenient hour. The lady of the house was alone in 
the drawing-room when the two were ushered in. Uncle 
John was duly introduced, and surprised Gertrude by 
making a very good bow. Madame d'Hericourt extended 
her hand very cordially to him, she kissed Gertrude, and 
then the three were soon seated, and exchanging those 
general introductory remarks usual when acquaintances 
meet. 

" Anne and Pauline are in the Square with the honne,'^ 
said Madame d'Hericourt, in reply to a question of Ger- 
trude's. "These fine mornings they like sitting out and 
getting the air, Madame Peron included. She takes her 
work, and they have their books ; but I expect them back 
every moment*" 

" Such air as Grosvenor Square aftbrds," said Sanders. 
" I am reckoned a good John Bull in most things, but I 
cannot praise the climate of my native land." 

" John Bull is reckoned a grumbler, is he not?" said 
Madame d'Hericourt; '• and I am sure, at any rate, there 
is nothing of which people usually complain so much as of 
the weather." 

*' It is not the w^eather so much as the atmosphere." 

" My uncle is used to a Sicilian sky," observed Gertrude ; 
" so the change to a London one must be dismal, even at 
our best season." 

" Well, it is dismal enough, but it is not the look of 
thmgs that I am thinking of, though I am not quite insen- 



266 



THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 



sible to that either, but my own feelings. One breathes 
in a thick medium on the clearest of clays in this country ; 
we seem to want gills, or some such apparatus, instead of 
lungs." 

" I find the air lighter in France myself," replied Madame 
d'Hericourt. 

" But I do not think, Madame, that the climate of your 
helle France suits me either. I went over to the South 
early this spring, in the way of my business, and got a taste 
of the hise. T was laid up at Marseilles for three weeks, 
and have not quite got over that attack yet. No, I must 
live and die in Sicily, I suspect. Besides, I like the 
country." 

The conversation now turned on Italy, which Madame 
d'Hericourt had visited, although she had not been in Sicily. 
Her new acquaintance was at home on this subject ; his 
knowledge of the country, the people, their habits, manners, 
virtues, faults, and all that concerned them, acquired in the 
course of years of association with natives of all classes, 
was very extensive. He was a good observer, his remarks 
were both sensible and pertinent, and the information he 
could give was interesting. Cumbered with no shyness or 
reserve, John Sanders was invariabiy quite at his ease, 
but, as he was also perfectly simple and devoid of vanity, 
he was at the same time free from vulgar forwardness or 
pretension. His sister and eldest niece had often applied 
to him the epithet of " vulgar," as we have seen. I have let 
the remark pass, but I must here enter a protest against 
John Sanders being set down as vulgar. That word is 
commonly used very loosely, and in different senses. If a 
lack of polish and exterior refinement make a man vulgar, 
then certainly Sanders was vulgar. If the want of a 
liberal education, a deficiency not compensated, but rather 
the reverse, by early associations, render a man vulgar, 
then Sanders was vulgar. He was the son of a tradesman. 



UNCLE JOHN MAKES A FKIEND. 267 

a shopkeeper in a mere second-rate provincial town. As a 
boy, he had not been sentj to a high-class school, and, 
such as the school was which he frequented, he had not 
been left there long, but had been placed, while still very 
young, in a house of business engaged in the wine trade. 
His good practical abilities, combined with those moral 
qualities which recommend a young man to offices of trust, 
had enabled him to make his way and prosper ; and he had 
laudably employed his leisure in the acquisition of a good 
•deal of multifarious knowledge. Still his education had 
necessarily remained incomplete, and then— his tongue 
betrayed him. There was that indescribable imperfection 
occasionally in the enunciation of vowels which is sure to 
characterize the uneducated, and specially the uneducated 
provincial, unless his ear has been early cultivated and cor- 
rected by mingling with those who have enjoyed superior 
training ; and if this process does not begin early, the fault 
is seldom completely eradicated. Yet all this does not make 
a man essentially vulgar. To be really vulgar, there must 
€xist some moral defect or deficiency. In Sanders there 
was nothing low, mean, or ignoble ; no sentiment or feeling 
was to be found in him which would have disgi-aced the 
highest gentleman in the land ; and such being the case, 
I will not allow him to be called vulgar. It is the presence 
of vulgarity of mind which imparts its chief ofFensiveness 
to those external marks of inferior breeding to which allu- 
sion has been made, and stamps man or woman as vulgar — 
an epithet which many a person who is entirely free from 
them will often richly deserve. In this sense, Mrs. Wynd- 
ham was truly vulgar, but her brother was not so. It would 
have sui-prised her much to have been told this ; neither 
she nor Emma, however, reasoned or reflected on the subject, 
but\ised the word as it is used so frequently in common 
parlance. With them a person was vulgar whose language 
or mannei-s betrayed an inferior origin or education ; the 



268 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

education, be it observed, being valued as an appanage or 
pledge of good station. Now Sanders's tongue revealed this 
unpleasant fact ; and, as he was the brother of the one lady, 
and the uncle of the other, there was no escaping from a 
mortifying conclusion. Gertrude, who had far less pride, 
was not so sensitive on this point, as we have seen ; and the 
entire absence of genuine vulgarity in the kind and worthy 
man reconciled her to the want of some external refine- 
ment and cultivation. She observed this want, and was not 
indifferent to it by any means ; I think, indeed, that it 
would have mortified her in a brother, but in an uncle it 
was another thing ; the removal of a generation and the 
age rendered his innocent rusticities very bearable ; and 
his simplicity and humour made them sometimes even 
rather amusing. He was, in fact, a character ; and, if 
polished up, he would have been hardly worth as much. 
And then he was a good man and a devout man, and Ger- 
trude dearly loved goodness and devotion, under whate^-er 
garb she met with them. 

Wliile we are talking of John Sanders, he and Madame 
d'Hericourt are in full conversation, and that lady is 
" getting on" with him, as Emma would have expressed it, 
much better than she ever did with his more fashionable sis- 
ter. Madame d'Hericourt probably adverted to the so-called 
vulgarity of her visitor less even than Gertrude ; partly 
because she had long trained her mind to avoid that scrutiny 
of persons with whom we come in contact which is the 
fruitful source of so much uncharitableness, and partly for 
the reason which Emma had given for expecting her to be 
less observant in this matter. She was more French than 
English in her associations and habits. 

" Here they come ! " exclaimed Gertrude, who was watch- 
ing at the window ; " they are almost running." 

"They know they are late," replied the mother; "my 
Poll, I suspect, will, as usual, prove to be the culprit." 



UNCLE JOHN MAKES A FRIEND. 269 

The girls soon made tlieir appearance, with all the 
heightened bloom on their cheeks which their hurried walk 
had called up. Certainly they did no discredit to a London 
climate. They were, of course, introduced to the stranger, 
and Anne was beginning to explain the cause of their delay, 
but was faii'ly talked down by the more voluble Pauline, who 
could scarcely wait until the ceremony of introduction was 
over. 

" 0, Mama I we have had such a chase after Kitty ! — 
Such a dance as it has led us ! We thought we should never 
catch it, the little rogue ! " and she stopped an instant to 
kiss the truant, who was wrapped up in the folds of her 
shawl — it was not our old friend, Tommy, but a new 
favourite. " In and out of the bushes it went, and dodged us 
so cunningly ; just when we had it, off it bounced again, 
and at last climbed up a tree. But Madame Peron caught 
it by standing on tip-toe, we propping her up ; she got hold 
of its tail, and pulled it down as the nigger did the opossum " ; 
and Pauline laughed with all her heart as she recounted this 
happy result. 

" But, my dear," said her mother, " what made you think 
of taking the kitten into the Square ? " 

John Sanders had now drawn near and begged to see the 
lively animal. " I am partial to cats," he said ; " and this 
is a splendid kitten, I must say. Just look at its stripes 
and its tail, which is long as well as thick ; it is seldom both." 

"And look at its whiskers," added Pauline. " It is like 
a miniature tiger " ; and she eyed Sanders complacently 
while he scratched the kitten's head as one familiar with 
the office. "I do so love people to love cats!" she ex- 
claimed. 

" They say, ' Love me, love my dog,' " said Sanders, " Init 
this is much better, and a great comfort to an old fellow 
like me, to have a young lady say to him, ' If you will love 
my cat, I will love you.' "' 



270 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

" But I did not say tliat," replied the merry girl, laughing 
and colouring. "I said I loved people to love cats, not 
who love cats." 

" My dear Pauline, that is rather pert," said her mother, 
while Anne, who looked more ashamed than did Madame 
d'Hericourt, pulled her sister's sleeve as a reminder. 

"I have the weakness, I believe, to like impertinent 
young ladies as well as playful kittens," said Sanders. 

"Our Pauline is nothing but a big child, though she is 
sixteen," replied the mother. 

" A blessing on her ! " said Sanders ; " it is quite a treat 
to see a big child nowadays. Your modern misses shoot 
up into grown-up fine ladies before they have cut their 
wisdom teeth. I don't mean you, Gertrude ; you are just 
saved from being a modern miss." 

" Quite saved, I am sure," said Madame d'Hericourt^ 
looking kindly at her. 

Gertrude responded with an affectionate smile. 

" Now, my dears, you had better go and take off your 
things at once ; so much time has been lost that the drawing- 
master w^ill be soon here." 

*' May I go with them for a moment ? " asked Gertrude. 
Madame d'Hericourt nodded, and Gertrude ran after them, 
accompanying Anne to her room, which was separate from 
that of her younger sister. She thought she had a great 
many things to say to her friend, and, indeed, there were 
many things she would have wished to say, if possible, for 
she had not seen Anne by herself since the affair of Alger- 
non's proposal ; but she soon understood that this was not 
possible, for clearly Anne did not intend to allude to the 
subject, and Gertrude felt that it would be bad taste in her 
to introduce it or ask a single question with reference to it. 
So they talked of other matters. 

'' Your uncle seems very good-natured," said Anne. 

''Yes, verv. I never saw him before ; at least, I do not 



UXCLE JOHX MAKES A FRIEND. 271 

remember him, for he lives in Sicily, and seldom comes to 
England, bat he has been so kind to me, and wants to take 
me back to i)ay him a visit at Palermo." 

'• And woidd you like to go ? " 

" Yes, I should ; but I need not think about it ; Mama 
would not like me to go, so I have not ventured to ask 
her." 

"You have such bad coughs in the winter, it might do 
you good. This would be a motive for sparing you ; and 
then Mrs. Wyndham is so indulgent to your wishes." 

" No use thinking of it," interrupted Gertrude ; " Emma 
would not like it, even if Mama allowed it ; and I cannot 
do anything which Emma does not like. But I know 
Mama would not, any way, consent ; she is very indulgent, 
as you say, in many things, but there are others in which 
one could not persuade her. She is not indulgent when she 
cannot enter into your reasons for wishing a thing, and she 
would not understand how I could wish for this. But^ 
talking of indulgence, Anne, I cannot quite make out your 
mother. I know she is most kind — we all know that — but 
is she indulgent to you ? Emma thought she was very 
strict with you both, and yet she hardly seems so." 

" You mean about Pauline and her childish ways, do you 
not ? She is very indulgent to Pauline, certainly ; and 
about those cats in particular; I really am sometimes myself 
half surprised at her toleration. Pauline has two now, and 
there is no end of the fuss she makes about them. I verily 
believe, if she fancied a third, that Mama would put up with 
the addition." 

'' I suppose Pauline, being the youngest, is rather petted?'' 

" Not at all," rej)lied Anne, quickly ; " Mama has no such 
ideas as either petting or making favourites. She loves me 
quite as much as she does Pauline, but the fact of the 
matter is, she is much stricter with us as we get older, at 
at least in some things. She gave us a great deal of liberty 



272 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

as children, yet she was stricter with me at sixteen than 
she is with Poll, because, you see, Poll has remained a child 
so long in her disposition and tastes." 

" It was just the contrary Avith us," said Gertrude ; "as 
we got older we were more indulged, and had a great deal 
more freedom. Then, to be sure, we had a governess when 
we were little, and she was a disciplinarian, which Mama 
is not." 

" I think young children are generally much indulged in 
Prance," said Anne ; " and yet I should say that the respect 
of grown-up children for their parents is greater there than 
in England ; but of course my experience is not very wide, 
so I hardly ought to hazard an opinion. As for Mama, I 
am sure she has acted on a system and on principle. She 
was very strict always about anything which was sinful 
and offended God, such as the least untruth, and she 
invariably made us obey her at once. She was particular, 
too, to prevent us doing anything which could inconveni- 
ence or annoy others, and she corrected any habits or ways 
which, she told us, were disagreeable, even though they 
seemed harmless, lest we should grow up with them ; but 
beyond this she gave us very great freedom indeed, and 
we spent a most joyous childhood. Dear Mama is very 
glad not to shorten that happy time, and this is the history, 
I fancy, of her indulgence of Pauline. But you must not 
think, because I said Pauline was childish, that she is at 
all inferior in mind and abilities ; on the contrary, she is 
much cleverer than I am; for instance, she has quite a 
genius for painting, and, what may surprise you more, a 
great facility in arithmetic, and a positive turn for mathe- 
matics." 

" Mathematics ! " repeated Gertrude — but whatever re- 
mark she was about to make was cut short by Anne's 
saying, " I think I hear the drawing-master's knock; and I 
must go and look after Pauline." 



UXCLE JOHN MAKES A FRIEND. 273 

While the young friends were thus conversing above, the 
elders were talking on a very similar subject below, which 
had been suggested by Sanders's observation about "modern 
misses." 

" Yon cannot think how fully I sympathize, Mr. Sanders, 
with your remark about ' modern misses,' " said Madame 
d'Hericourt, when the door had closed. " I fancy I see in it 
an evidence that you would agree with some of my notions 
about education, which many persons tell me are old- 
fashioned, and not in keeping with the progress of the 
age." 

" Progress, indeed ! I wonder what we are progressing 
to," replied Sanders. 

^' There is a good deal of over-teaching and defective 
education in the present day, I am inclined to think," said 
the lady. 

" Madame," said Sanders, " do you see, I am an un- 
educated man myself. I mean I had little or no teaching 
in my boyhood, and was put out to learn my trade when 
quite a lad. The little I know I have picked up or taught 
myself; so I have scarce a right to an opinion about 
education ; but we have all of us got our impressions, or 
prejudices, which you will. Now my prejudices are in 
favour of King Solomon's ideas. He must have known 
something about that matter, as he was so wise. He 
thought a youth should be trained in the way he should go ; 
he did not say, ' Stuff his head full of knowledge.' " 

Madame d'Hericourt laughed, and assured her visitor 
that her prejudices entirely resembled his own and King 
Solomon's. 

"Yon see, Madame," continued Sanders, "I had only 
two girls. What I should have done with a boy I cannot 
say ; it was never a practical question. I married the 
daughter of my employer ; and, if ever there was a good 
soul, it was my wife, Francesca. Her mother was an 

T 



274t THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

Italian, so the cLild was brought up 'a Catholic. All I 
have in the way of devotion, I must confess, I owe mainly 
to her ; for I was a very sorry Catholic when I left England. 
Well, my wife and I agi-eed that y^e would train up the 
children at home. Our circumstances were very limited 
then j so we could not afiford many masters, and I could 
not abide the idea of a governess. Francesca taught them 
what she knew herself, which I, at least, thought enough 
for them. We might have sent them to a convent, it is 
true, for their education, but I could not bear to part with 
my treasures^ nor did I wish them to come to love any 
place or any friends, however excellent, better than their 
home and their parents perhaps. May be I was jealous 
and selfish." 

'' Much as I esteem convent education," replied Madame 
d'Hericourt, " and in many cases reckon it the best, still 
where there is a good mother, able and willing to devote 
herself to the training of her girls, nothing, in my opinion, 
can surpass a home education for them. Many reasons 
make me think so, but few mothers can or will make the 
needful sacrifices ; and then the inordinate notions prevalent 
as to the amount of accomplishments required, and the 
time necessary to be allotted to lessons, even in the case of 
very young children, of course greatly increase the difficul- 
ties in the way of mothers undertaking tuition." 

'' My children were not burdened with lessons, certainly," 
said Sanders ; "I was quite against the'practice. They were 
a great deal with their mother, however, and learnt I scarce 
know how. Teresa — she alone remains to me now — has 
not grown up idle or ignorant, however. Besides all her 
practical knowledge, which I am inclined to think children 
generally love acquiring a deal better than poring over 
books, she is very fond of reading. Italian, of course, she 
speaks like a native, and French quite fluently ; she has 
also taught herself German. She composes very pretty 



I 



UNCLE JOHN MAKES A FRIEND. 275 

poetry, too — generally hyiiins to our Lady or Santa E-osalia, 
or snch-like ; and I hear her singing them — for she sings 
very sweetly — to airs which she has herself set them to ; 
and it does my heart good ; but I am afraid I shall tire you 
with all these family matters." 

" Quite the contrary, Mr. Sanders ; I assure you nothing 
could interest me more. Besides, the subject of education 
has naturally much occupied my thoughts. I am inclined 
to your view, that children should not be burdened with 
lessons, especially at an early age. Much can be taught, and 
is better taught, by word of mouth. It is the natural source 
of information to the young, and they will often be led by 
this means to interest themselves in subjects which in books 
they would have found dry and even unintelligible. Chil- 
dren are gi-eat questioners, as I dare say you know ; but the 
power of study is an after-growth. I fancy also that mis- 
takes are made with reference to what is called idleness. 
There is such a thing, I know, and its symptoms are 
unmistakable, but much which is called idling in young 
things is not idleness. They should never be allowed to idle 
over their work or lessons, of course ; but often they will 
choose an occupation or amusement, which we please to call 
an idle one, and yet it is, very likely, one in which they 
are really learning something in their own way. I used 
to interfere very little with my children's way of amusing 
and employing themselves when lessons were over, but 
left them to themselves, if they were doing nothing 
faulty." 

"It is the way our Heavenly Father deals with us," 
said Sanders. " He respects our liberty." 

" Yes, T feel that very strongly," said Madame d'Heri- 
court ; " and accordingly, while loving discipline, I have 
always disliked what may be called drill.'" 

" I heartily go along with you, Madame," rejoined 
Sanders ; "the drilled creature, having never enjoyed inno- 

T 2 



276 THE WYXDHAM FAMILY. 

cent liberty, takes it out in license when it gets free. So 
when the young lady escapes from the school-room and 
* comes out/ as they call it, she plunges into her novels and 
her balls, like a mad thing. That is about the upshot, I 
take it. In France, where they do not allow theii' young 
ladies to launch out freely, the misfortune is that this takes 
place very often after niamage, which is worse." 

"Most true," replied Madame d'Hericourt; ^'thatisa 
subject — I mean that of the marriage of children — upon 
which there is much to give cause for anxious reflection ; 
but I suspect that there is a faultiness in the ^^I'evious 
education, as well as in the customs of society, which leads 
to this abuse. When the French girl leaves her convent 
school, armed with all its pious associations, but still at an 
age which is very impressionable, an age when virtue has 
not become fortified by independent action, she goes back, 
not seldom, I fear, to a very frivolous home, where she finds 
quite a different code prevailing from that under which 
she has hitherto been reared. Her heart becomes infected 
by the worldly atmosphere w*hich surrounds her, and is 
seduced by the glimpses of worldly amusement, of which 
she has the sight and prospect, but for the full enjoyment 
of which she looks forward to the emancipation of marriage. 
However, there are very happy exceptions, and I know 
many a blessed and Christian French home." 

'• To marry your daughter is certainly a very weighty 
business," said Sanders ; " fortunately my girl has no turn 
that way." 

*' You have not brought her over with you, Mr. Sanders,, 
— have you I " 

*'No, I have left her with her two good aunts. She is 
very delicate, and I fear any risk for her. You see, I have 
lost, within the last three years, both her mother and her 
sister from decline. This makes me anxious." 

" You have, indeed, been heavily afllicted ; but I tnist,. 



UNCLE JOHX MAKES A FRIEND. 277 

God will spare joii your i-emaiuing treasure," said Madame 
d'Hericourt. 

" If He does, it will be to take lier Himself — His holy- 
will be done " ; and Sanders bowed his head and crossed 
himself. " Teresa hopes she has a vocation," he resumed ; 
" and her health alone at present interferes with her trying 
it. My home will certainly be a little desolate at first 
without her smilmg face and cheerful voice ; but I do not 
grudge her — no, God is my witness — I do not grudge her 
to Him." 

Madame d'Hericourt felt deeply moved ; but before she 
could speak Gertrude entered. Her uncle smiled affection, 
ately at her, and said, " There comes my pretty niece ; 
I want to take her back with me." 

As the visitors rose to take leave, Madame d'Hericourt 
said, " I do not know whether there will be any impro- 
priety in my asking you, Mr. Sanders, to join our quiet 
party on "Wednesday, or whether your stay in London is too 
short for your relations to spare you." 

" My sister and good brother-in-law wish me to make 
myself quite at home, so I have no doubt they will spare 
me. What say you, Gertrude ? " 

"If Gertrude will come also, I shall be delighted," 
added Madame d'Hericourt. " We expect two priests, the 
one a very old friend of ours, a Frenchman, the other an 
Italian, who has been giving a Retreat at Hatton Garden, 
and is staying now with the priests attached to Warwick- 
street Chapel. You may doubtless know him by reputation, 
Padre Giglio." 

" Padre Giglio I " exclaimed Sanders, clapping his hands. 
" To be sure I know him, and well too. He was in Palermo 
two years ago. I shall be very glad indeed to meet him 
iigain. There is a plan of going to Richmond to-morrow, 
but I suppose we shall be back the next day." 

^' Oh, yes," said Gertrude j " we are to return late that 



278 THE WYNDHAM FAMILY. 

same evening, I believe ; and T ^yill ask Mama to let me- 
come," she added, addressing Madame d'Hericourt. " I 
should so like it." 

'' Do, my dear ; but I fear our hour will scarcely suit 
you. "We must dine at a quarter past, six, for the Padre 
lias to leave us early." 

Gerti-ude had no objection. 

" All right," said Sanders, taking his hat and shaking 
hands cordially with Madame d'Hericourt, " we will be here 
to the moment, punctually." 

'- 1 do like Mr, Sanders very much," said Madame d'Heri- 
court to her daughter Anne, on her return to the sitting- 
room at the close of the drawing-lesson. " I quite feel that 
1 have made a friend." 

" Mama," said Anne, rather timidly, after her mother had 
mentioned the proposed dinner-party, *' I wish you would 
ask Mr. Rochfort. He has been here very seldom lately, 
and we are going away so soon. Will he not feel it 
unfriendly if v/e — you, I mean — do not care to see some- 
thing more of him, before we leave ? I really wish you 
would ask him ; I should be so sorry he was hurt, I have 
a great regard for Mr. Rochfort, Mama, though — though — " 
but Anne thought it best to leave that clause of the sentence 
unfinished — "and I should be quite vexed to think he 
should take anything unkindly. I fancy he has looked 
grave and sad lately. Perhaps he thinks we have neglected 
him for our new friends. It was Pauline remarked this 
change in him, and of course it may be all nonsense, but 
anyhow it is best — is it not. Mama ?— to ask him. It is the 
sort of i^arty which would suit him." 

*'I will ask him, my dear," replied her mother; and no- 
more was said on the subject. 



n./^ 



V 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA 



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